My Place: Natalie Harrison

SunFest fun run co-ordinator Natalie Harrison tells Matt Crossman that the 40th year of the festival, held over three days on the Village Green next month, will be the biggest yet.


Did you grow up in Sunbury? 

I moved to Sunbury 16 years ago. I attended my first SunFest just a few years ago.


What are your first memories of SunFest?

My son’s birthday had always been on the same weekend. I remember standing on the Village Green on the Saturday morning with my two children thinking wow, how awesome it was being part of a great community event. The number of people, stallholders, rides … it was a fantastic atmosphere.


How did you become involved?

There was an advertisement in the local paper for a volunteer to be the walk-run co-ordinator. I had no previous experience in organising an event, but loved running. I’d run marathons and other running events but wanted to have an opportunity to get involved organising one. The fact that SunFest is a community event run by volunteers, who have families, work, have children, at university etc., also attracted me. It’s a great opportunity to get to know others.


What do you consider to be the festival highlights?

This year SunFest will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. It’s a great achievement for what is Sunbury’s largest event and the largest community-run event in Victoria, attracting about 30,000 people over the weekend. This year’s SunFest will be held over three days (March 18-20). There’ll be carnival rides, talent shows, a battle of the school choirs, grand street parade, fireworks, SunFest under the Stars, including No Vacancy on stage Saturday night, the walk-run for fun on Sunday, and Pets on the Green. There’s so much for all ages.


Can you tell us more about the fun run?

This will be the sixth year we’ve run the walk-run for fun. It’s on the Sunday, starting from Barkly Street next to Memorial Hall. The first event, which is 21km, kicks off at 7.45am. Other events include a 10km run, 5km walk-run and 2km run for kids. All events except for the kids are timed, and all entrants receive a finisher’s medallion. Trophies will be presented to the top three placegetters and fastest group in the five, 10 and 21km events. We are encouraging participants to dress up and there will be a prize for best dressed group or individual. All money raised is equally divided between our chosen charities. This year we are proudly supporting beyondblue, the Rotary Club of Sunbury Family Community Kitchen and Hume Men’s Shed (Sunbury).


How many walk-run entrants are you expecting this year?

We’re hoping for 300-plus. We are encouraging people to get behind this event and support the three charities. The great thing is you don’t have to be an athlete to compete. Just come, participate and have fun. Families, community groups, fitness clubs, sporting groups and schools can all get involved.


For details on SunFest, visit