What would have been the Mudgee Running Festival's 20th year anniversary this weekend has been cancelled as a direct result of COVID-19.
A committee zoom meeting was held back in March when the pandemic began to come to light, and although a unanimous decision was carried to postpone the event, it has later been completely called off for 2020.
"There is an incredible amount of volunteer hours that go into planning this event, and the risk that these hours would be in vain was too high," committee member, Giselle Denley said.
"It [cancellation] was 100 per cent due to COVID-19. Our event has had many years of growth and we were excited to see this continue and to celebrate our 20th anniversary."
From 'humble beginnings' back in 2001 when the Mudgee Triathlon Club made the decision to host the first Mudgee Marathon which saw a handful of competitors, the event has grown tremendously to in 2019 hosting more than 1,000 registered competitors.
Not only is the Mudgee Running Festival (MRF) a calendar 'must attend' for local runners, but also for entrants from the Central West, Sydney, Newcastle, Wollongong and the international realm.
"Just over half of the competitors reside in the Mid-Western Region. We've also had competitors from other countries including a gentleman from Lenexa, Kansas, USA. Although it is not known if he flew to Australia to specifically compete in our event," Denley said.
"It's a fabulous community event run by a dedicated group of volunteers and supported by many local businesses.
There is an incredible amount of work that goes into organising the event, but the smiles on the day from the competitors and their supporters makes it all worth it.Mudgee Running Festival committee member, Giselle Denley
Denley says next year's event will be the 'best ever' as the committee strives to build on feedback and incorporate some new paths that have been created.
"After a year off, our committee will come back refreshed and revived, ready to make our 2021 event the best ever. We have always strived to improve our festival year on year," she said.
"Thanks to the new paths that the Mid-Western Regional Council is constructing out to Putta Bucca Wetlands from town, we will be investigating whether we can incorporate the new loop into a new 10 kilometre course."
The 2021 Mudgee Running Festival event will be held on August 15, 2021.
Details can be found at https://mudgeerunningfestival.com.au/.