STAWELL - The Wimmera Grampians Heart Challenge 'Run for Russ' has been recognised with the Community Event of the Year honour at this year's Australia Day awards.
The Wimmera Grampians Heart Challenge - Run for Russ first took place in 2012 after Stawell woman Jackie Peacock decided to organise a community event to raise funds for, and spread the word about, cardiovascular disease.
Jackie lost her dad to a heart attack without warning when he was aged just 46.
In 2013, the event featured a five kilometre walk and run, a 10 kilometre run and a kids' race, open to people of all ages and abilities.
Participants were encouraged to enter individually or as a team with workmates, friends, family or sporting clubs.
An impressive $10,000 was raised by 400 participants in 2012 and $15,000 by 420 participants in 2013. The money goes towards promoting heart health in the Wimmera Grampians.
The event's goal is to combat the area's high death rates from cardiovascular disease by encouraging people of all ages to get fit for the event.
It also raises awareness about cardiovascular disease with the tagline 'Get Checked, Get Moving, Prevent Heart Disease.'
Showbags are handed out at the event to provide participants with valuable information on heart disease that they can then share with their family and friends to help spread the heart health message.
Run for Russ brings the community together to promote heart health and remember loved ones lost to heart disease.
The information is important for all members of the community and as the event grows, so does the strength of the message and its reach.