Runners, led by eventual winner, Martin Dent, pass one of the towers. Photo: Graham Tidy
The wind farms north of Canberra are often seen in the distance by those heading to Sydney or the coast, but few have the opportunity to see the turbines up close.
But the 450 competitors in the inaugural Run with the Wind event on Sunday did. The fun run, organised by wind energy company Infigen Energy, was held at the Woodlawn Wind Farm north of Bungendore with five and eight-kilometre courses.
''The initiative is to allow the broader regional community a chance to run and participate in an event where they can get up close to the turbines and experience what it is like in and amongst a wind farm,'' Infigen development manager and race co-ordinator Frank Boland said.
Winners, Martin Dent, and Andrea Ilakovac. Photo: Graham Tidy
Infigen hopes the run will remove some of the mystery and concerns residents have about wind farms. Local community groups were the main beneficiaries of the run.
''Proceeds from today … will go into two local community groups, Tarago Sporting Association and the other is the Bungendore Community Foundation,'' Mr Boland said.
Canberra Olympic marathon runner Martin Dent won the men's eight-kilometre race, clocking 28 minutes, 40 seconds.
Runners observe a minute silence for Remembrance Day before the run. Photo: Graham Tidy
''It's a beautiful course, it's great being so close to the turbines,'' Dent said. ''It's a really tough, hilly course, one of the hilliest races I've done for a long time. So I'm pleased to get a win today and Michael [Andrews], my training partner, came second as well so it's good for our group. It's great being part of something the first time it's on.''
Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury said it was great to see Canberrans engage with a clean-energy event.
''There's lots of people running with cameras and you never ever see that in a race. I think that's a sign that people are really interested to come out amongst the turbines and see just what they're like,'' he said.
Runners pass one of the towers at the "Run with the Wind" fun run at the Woodlawn Wind Farm, near Bungendore. Photo: Graham Tidy
Wind-farm proposals have met resistance from some communities across Australia, with arguments against them often citing noise, unsightliness, and health problems.
However, according to Jane Osborne, owner of the Lakelands property 1½km from the nearest wind turbine, noise has not been an issue and, in Bungendore, there have been ''no problems''.
''The only time I hear them is if I go for a walk in winter, right up in the hills. If it's very still and there's a bit of fog I hear a bit of noise, but nothing in the house,'' she said.
ACT Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury warms down after the run. Photo: Graham Tidy
In 2009, the National Health and Medical Research Council said there was no ''scientific evidence to positively link wind turbines with adverse health effects''.