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Watch out Echuca-Moama: Johnno’s army is now racing virtually

By Daneka Hill

JOHNNO'S Run, the annual fundraiser for Community Living & Respite Service, is about bringing people together this year during a time when people have never been further apart.

It's not about raising as much money as possible, or recording personal bests at Run Melbourne.

No.

CLRS chief executive Leah Taaffe said this year’s run was about bringing the community together. Virtually speaking, of course.

“It’s not about the fundraising this year,” she said.

CLRS suspended all fundraising when a state of emergency was announced as a result of COVID-19.

Before that, it had raised close to $400,000 for the Opening Doors Project to build homes for locals living with disability since 2014 when Brady Johnston, then 16, offered to race in Run Melbourne.

But the pandemic has changed plenty for the twin towns, including how the juggernaut fundraiser is run.

Ms Taaffe said come race day on July 26 people were encouraged to don their Johnno's Run race singlets or jumpers (which are now available) and run 5km, 10km, or 21.1km around the streets of Echuca-Moama.

Singlets and jumpers, $15 and $50 respectively, will be the only form of revenue-raising.

But it's not too late to join the cause.

“We are absolutely open to new people jumping on at the last minute,” Ms Taaffe said.

CLRS volunteer co-ordinator Liz Rowsell said 58 people were registered runners so far.

“Last year we had 150, but most people don’t register until later, so more could still join in,” she said.

“Johnno’s Run is one way we can keep people connected, and if people are seeing others out running on the day in their singlets and hoodies then they can wave and say ‘Hey, you’re on my team’.

“In Melbourne you don’t get to see that because you are apart from your team and there are so many people.”

Liz said Brady would be running this year and she hoped others would support him.

To register, visit www.trybooking.com/book/event?eid=634376&

CLRS is an important part of the Echuca-Moama community, read more stories about them below.

CLRS opens Moama home for people with disabilities through virtual tour

CLRS to re-start op shop and Recyclability

Work begins on new CLRS opening doors project site in Echuca