Rouse Hill's Olbrich family lace up for 2017 Westlink M7 Blacktown Running Festival

FAMILY AFFAIR: Thomas, Mitchell, Emalee and Chelsea Olbrich of Rouse Hill will be running the five kilometre course at the Blacktown Running Festival on July 30. Pictures: Blacktown Council

FAMILY AFFAIR: Thomas, Mitchell, Emalee and Chelsea Olbrich of Rouse Hill will be running the five kilometre course at the Blacktown Running Festival on July 30. Pictures: Blacktown Council

Quality time for most families means a day at the park, or finding a TV show everyone can agree on.

For one Rouse Hill family, it’s running.

Four members of the Olbrich family will attack the 5km race as part of the Blacktown Running Festival on July 30.

They regularly train together at Hills District Athletics Club, and dad Thomas said the main reason he runs is for the fitness and his kids.

“When my 18-year-old son first started he used to be behind me. Now he’s in front of me and the younger two are closer to me now too,” he said.

“It’s a good incentive for them. If this old man can do it, I can too.”

Emalee and Chelsea, aged 13 and 11, have taken after their older siblings through their interest in athletics over other sports.

Emalee even ran the 14km City2Surf last year, a feat she said “felt good and painful”.

Their brother Mitchell, 18, has had three podium finishes in Blacktown’s 5km race, although his speciality lies in shorter distances.

The young athlete won silver representing NSW in the 4x400m relay at the under-20s Australian Athletics Championships in March.

FLYING START: Veteran marathon runners Bob Fickel and Eric Schmierer will be taking on the 42km Westlink M7 marathon.

FLYING START: Veteran marathon runners Bob Fickel and Eric Schmierer will be taking on the 42km Westlink M7 marathon.

The 5km race is one of the shorter offerings at Blacktown International Sportspark – there is also the 2km kids run, a half-marathon, and the 42.195km Westlink M7 Marathon.

Bob Fickel, 65, will be taking on the full marathon for the 12th time this year.

If all goes according to plan, it will be the 252nd notch in his impressive running belt.

Without prompting he can rattle off an impressive list of numbers, including the time of his first ever marathon back in 1981, and the best times of his unofficial rival over the past four years.

“My wife says I’m a numbers man,” he explains. “I collect numbers.”

Over the course of his running career, the veteran has already amassed a whopping 10,591 kilometres, including running the Sydney to Melbourne ultra marathon in eight days, six hours and 59 minutes.

“I’m aiming for 300,” Mr Fickel said. “I’ll keep going as long as I can, until my body says no more.”

LACED UP: The runners, with Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali, are excited for the 12th annual festival at Blacktown International Sportspark.

LACED UP: The runners, with Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali, are excited for the 12th annual festival at Blacktown International Sportspark.

Despite the competitive edge, mayor Stephen Bali said the running festival is a great day for runners of all levels.

“There is a race for everyone from professional athletes to families and kids just having a go,” he said.

“We will be doing something special to recognise their achievements.”

Almost 500 people have registered for the festival already, and entries are welcome on the day.

For more information or to register, go to the Community Events page at the council’s website.

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