The idea of running at “dark o’clock” in the morning in the pouring rain doesn’t appeal to many people, but one group of Portland runners were so enthusiastic that they staged their own winter running event to embrace the elements.

All share a love of running come rain, hail or shine, and they teamed up with the Portland Runner’s Club to launch a winter running celebration in 2013. After the rapid growth of the Winter Solstice Fun Run, they are now planning their third annual event on June 21 to ‘light up the shortest day of the year’.

“We wanted an event to celebrate healthy lifestyles, no matter what the weather. Some people are training for spring marathons and fun runs, others are just out to get some fresh air and socialize while doing something good for their bodies,” said race director Melissa Francis.

The feature event is a 15km “Lighthouse to Lighthouse” route from the Cape Nelson to Portland lighthouses, taking in rugged coastal cliffs and rolling hills, and of course two historic lighthouses. The 9km and 5km courses offer stunning views across Portland’s busy port and scenic wetland areas. Walkers are also invited to take on the challenge, and youngsters will line up for the 1km children’s gallop, with a portion of every entry donated to the South West Relay for Life.

“We ‘warmly’ welcome runners and walkers of all fitness levels, with a finish line featuring hot food, music and kids entertainment. Last year we managed to pull off a trifecta of sunshine, whales frolicking near the finish line and a helicopter taking off right at the start of our race. We do have prizes for the speedy runners, but our main focus is getting out there and having fun even in the colder, winter months,” said Ms Francis.

Register online at www.portlandrunnersclub.com.au or visit www.facebook/portlandwintersolsticefunrun for updates and promotions.