AS support grows for a South Coast Colour Run, so too does the controversy surrounding the event.
Mollymook has been earmarked as a possible venue for the 2014 fun run, however the event could be scrapped before it begins, following public outcry in Cairns earlier this year.
Many Cairns residents claim the Swisse Colour Run failed to live up to community expectations as a fundraiser for the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation, labelling it as a “rip-off” and “the greatest money-making scam on the planet”.
Other participants, however, said it was a “very positive, happy and uplifting occasion” as runners were showered with coloured powder during the five kilometre course.
The event’s Australian managing director Graeme Hannan told the Times the Colour Run was a business and it was promoted as a for-profit event, not a charity.
“We are no different to the Sydney Running Festival and the Melbourne Marathon which are privately run events that also have a charity component,” he said.
Mr Hannan said Cairns was “the only Colour Run” to receive negative feedback.
“People may well have thought that it was a charity event, but the council and hospital foundation certainly did not think that,” he added.
The Cairns run brought in $385,000 in registration fees, with $32,000 spilt between the local hospital charity and the Swisse Celebrate Life Foundation.
Mr Hannan said the remaining income was spent on running the event, including providing race kits for entrants, promotional material, advertising and equipment such as marquees.
“Putting on an event like this is very costly and, in fact, we lost money on the Cairns run,” he said.
Organisers have been in touch with Shoalhaven City Council seeking volunteers to help organise an event in the region and are calling for charities to put their hands up for a donation.
Mr Hannan said the Colour Run would fundraise for a charity in return for volunteers who would help run the event.
He said the charity could also promote its own Local Heroes fundraising website, sell merchandise and seek sponsorship via the Colour Run.
“An average event for us is about 10,000 people and, out of that, the local charity would pull in about $20,000 from registrations, plus whatever they make via their own fundraising efforts,” he added.
“We are inundated with requests from charities that want to work with us.
“We’ve got the Cancer Council on board and other charities are falling over themselves to get involved.”
Mr Hannan said a fun run on the South Coast would attract participants from Sydney and Canberra, with families, tourism operators and local businesses set to benefit.
Anyone from local charities or running groups keen to take part, or who want to suggest a route, should contact council’s event manager: firstname.lastname@example.org