This annual series of three midweek twilight runs takes in some of Melbourne's best running tracks as well as a run through the Melbourne Zoo. Each event in the series has an 8km and a 4km option. 2015 dates are:
Melbourne Zoo, 4 February Princes Park, Carlton 18 February
Early bird entries are $50 for adults and $33 for kids under 18. For all three runs in the Series, early bird entries are $107 for adults and $83 for kids.Early bird entries close 5pm on the Wednesday one week prior to each event.
Course highlights: Run past the animals at the Melbourne Zoo, take in twilight views of the Yarra and Botanic Gardens while running the Tan track and enjoy the greenery of Princes Park.
The popular 5km Swisse Colour Run is back in Melbourne in 2015, with a 'Grand Prix edition' at Albert Park Lake on 1 March.
For those unfamiliar with the Colour Run concept, runners wear all-white attire for the race (a white T-shirt and sweat band is included in your race pack), and at each kilometre marker they are showered in coloured powder. It's made of food grade, food dyed cornstarch so no worries if you accidently swallow some. The 'Finish Festival' has a music, dancing and more colour throws.
Entry for adults (13 years and over) is $63 early bird (til 2 Feb) then $68. Groups of 4 or more get a $5 discount. Kids 6 – 12 years old are $50.50 early bird or $55 thereafter. Kids under 5 are free.
Course highlights: the course takes runners around Albert Park Lake but the party and the colour throws are the main attraction.
This 15.5 or 5.4km event is on Sunday March 22 2015. A significant fundraiser for the Royal Children's Hospital, $31.60 of the $53 15.5km entry fee is donated to the Hospital, as is $29.60 of the $48 5.4km entry fee.
Course highlights: the main drawcards of this race are the opportunity to run through the Domain tunnel and over the Bolte Bridge where the views will hopefully motivate you to keep going! The run also takes in the Docklands precinct where runners will be treated to entertainment and prize giveaways.
This year's 13.5km race against Puffing Billy is on Sunday 3 May. Online entries open in February, keep an eye on the website for the registration date as this run has a limited field and often sells out.
Proceeds from the run go towards restoration of the locomotive.
Course highlights: the whole course is very pretty (but steep in parts!), taking in the Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Emerald Lake Park.
Taking place on May 16 and 17 this year, this event bills itself as 'Australia's most stunning marathon'.
As well as the marathon, which follows the Great Ocean Road from Lorne to Apollo Bay, there is a half marathon from Kennett River to Apollo Bay. A 14km and 6km run are also part of the program, but not on the Great Ocean Road itself. They leave from Apollo Bay to Paradise picnic reserve in the scenic hills behind Apollo Bay.
Entry fees for 2015 are: Marathon $115; half marathon $105; 14km Adult $45, under 16 $30; 6km adult $40, under 16 $30; and the 'kids gallop' 1.5km $20.
Course highlights: Running on the Great Ocean Road. Enough said.
One of Melbourne's most popular and long-standing fun runs, in 2015 it takes place on July 26.
Events include: Brooks half marathon (Adult early bird entry $95); 10km run (Adult early bird entry $55); 5km run/walk (Adult early bird entry $40, children $30); 3km children's run ($25)
Early bird entry closes on February 6.
For the second year in a row, there is also the novelty 3.5km PJ run, where you run in your pyjamas (pyjamas are supplied with the entry fee). $20 of the $45 entry fee goes to Heartkids to support families of children with heart disease.
Course highlights: run past some of Melbourne's iconic landmarks such as the MCG, Arts Centre, Shrine of Remembrance, the Botantic Gardens and Federation Square.
Celebrating all things to do with distance running, the Melbourne Marathon festival is on again in 2015, this time on Sunday October 18th.
As well as the main event, there is a half marathon, 10km and 5km runs and a 3km walk.
2015 registrations open in February, but in 2014 the early bird prices were: Marathon $130, half marathon $95, 10km Adult $60, under 16 $35, 5km adult $40, under 16 $30, 3km Adult $35, under 16 $15,
Course highlights: Participants get to run along some of Melbourne's most famous streets (including St Kilda Road and Fitzroy St), and past significant landmarks such as Albert Park Lake, Port Phillip Bay (along Beaconsfield Parade), and the MCG.
With 12,000 participants last year, it's not as popular as its sister event, Sydney's City to Surf (which regularly has over 80,000 participants), but it's still one of Melbourne's largest runs. In 2015 it will be on Sunday 15 November, featuring both 15km and 5km events.
Discounted entry fees apply if you register before 6 May: for the 15km run adults $45, children (under 16) $35, under 5 $10; and for the 5km run adults $35, children (under 16) $25, under 5 $10.
Course highlights:Participants run past the MCG and the Arts Centre, along St Kilda Road, take a lap of Albert Park Lake, then run along Fitzroy St and finish at St Kilda's Catani Gardens
Throughout the course there is entertainment and music. In 2014, DJ Havana Brown got runners in the mood by playing an energetic set at the start line.
This 1.5km event on Valentine's Day (14 February) is not much of a serious run, so I haven't considered it as part of the 'top ten', but the Undie Run deserves a mention for novelty and for its good cause. It raises funds for, and awareness of, the Children's Tumour Foundation of Australia.
As the name suggests, you undertake the 1.5km run in your undies. Entry costs $55 for those brave enough to bare their undies, but there are also "I'm a bit shy" entry tickets for those who want to wear a bit more.
The run leaves from the Beach Comber café on Jacka Blvd in St Kilda, and there is a pre and post run party at the café.