Lloyd Harriott was the first of 272 participants to cross the line in the third anniversary of Shepparton’s Park Run.
The event came to Shepparton at the beginning of 2014 and has continued to grow, culminating in a record number of runners taking part on Saturday morning.
Harriott finished the 5km run around Victoria Park Lake in 17:09, just nine seconds slower than his personal best.
The Dookie United footballer has become a fine endurance runner, finishing first at the 10km fun run during the Shepparton Multisport Festival last year.
Saturday’s run marked the 40th time Harriott participated in Park Run, starting in August 2014 and regularly completing the course among the quickest runners.
The fastest female across the line was Jeannie Furphy, who recorded a time of 21:17 as she completed her seventh Park Run.
But while some use Park Run as a building block for future marathons and triathlons, not all approach the run in a competitive manner.
The free event has many runners try and better their time on the course each week, with each run graded based on how others in their age category fair.
Park Run event director Allan Connolly said one of the major reasons runners registered was to improve general fitness, in addition to training for long distance races.
‘‘People train for all different events or generally they do it as they’re just starting to be fit, which is why there are all ages and abilities,’’ he said.
‘‘There is always someone around your fitness level that can encourage you.’’
The run is not just for adults, with children as young as four able to compete.
Cadel Nicholson, 8, completed his 90th Park Run on Saturday and when combined with parents Chris and Chelsea’s numbers, the family has completed 226 runs, or 1130km all together.
Some 76 runners turned out for the inaugural run in 2014, with the event averaging 99 participants since its inception.