173 people died in the Black Saturday bushfires on February 7, 2009. One of the hardest hit towns was Marysville, where 34 people died and only 14 out of about 400 buildings were left standing.
Four years ago a local doctor, Lachlan Fraser, organised the Marysville marathon as part of the healing process, and as a way of bringing people back to Marysville. His initial posting after the bushfire on the Coolrunning website was followed up with plans of organising a running festival for November 2009, which planned for 500+ entrants and ended up with 3000!
Fast forward to 2012, and the fourth Marysville Marathon Festival was held on November 11, with five races: 4, 10, 21.1, 42.2 and 50km.
Having bludged since the Melbourne Marathon, I entered the half marathon, which was a challenging but beautiful mix of different bush tracks, hills, rivers and only 3.5km of bitumen on the climb up to the Falls.
Both the township and the surrounding forests have recovered remarkably in four years and it was fantastic to be part of a running event that contributes so much back into to the local community.
Mark it in your calendar for November 2013.