Running festivals are nothing new.
They're in towns and cities all over the world.
But the development of the Dubbo Stampede created something new. Something unique.
It gave competitors of all abilities the chance run through the kind of landscape like no other and it's gone from strength to strength since its inception in 2013.
The formation of the Dubbo Stampede, next up in our Moments That Mattered series.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
- John Grey makes shock crosstown switch from Macquarie to CYMS
- Barden Park creates a world of opportunity for region's athletes
- Outlaws complete SCG dream to help put western area on the map
- Megan 'Dubbo dynamo' scores a golden double on the world stage
- Underdog Stoneyrise completes an outback fairy tale at Dubbo Turf Club
It was early 2012 when the first Dubbo Stampede was announced.
The year before the Rotary Zoo Fun Run had been contested for the last time due to a drop in both the number of competitors and sponsors.
Something new was needed and the Stampede arrived at the right time.
The Stampede tracks wound their way around Taronga Western Plains Zoo and offered a little something for everyone right from the start.
"For families and kids we have the five kilometre Dingo Dash, the 10km Cheetah Chase for more specialist runners and, for cross country runners, the 21.1km Zebra Zoom, and we have runners coming in from Sydney for that," inaugural Dubbo Stampede chairman Ian Crafter said.
Crafter, Bonnie Tratt and the inaugural committee were on hand for the first running of the Stampede on September 1, 2012.
One of the marquee competitors that day was Pat Farmer, the ultra-marathon athlete and former politician was one of 1500 people who took part.
"There's no other event like this anywhere in the world, it really should be advertised overseas," a delighted Farmer said post-race.
Dubbo's own star athlete Jane Fardell won the inaugural Zebra Zoom and has been a regular at the event since.
She'd helped run the event and formulate ideas and her name has been put on a perpetual award.
The Jane Fardell Perpetual Award is for the female winner of the under 19 category in the Zebra Zoom half-marathon.
The Stampede has only got bigger since then with thousands taking part and new events added.
As well as Dingo Dash, Cheetah Chase, and Zebra Zoom the Stampede now also offers the 42.2km Rhino Ramble full marathon and the 5.3km Wallaby Wheel for those in a wheelchair who wish to take part.
"It's organised by runners so that just helps," Fardell said after taking part in 2013.
"Every detail is thought of. There were a lot of runners from out of town and I only heard positive feedback.
"It was especially good this year, the marathon finished with the 5km fun runners around the zoo so running at the end past the elephants and zebras was really good for morale."
Fardell is a regular at the Dubbo Stampede and has seen it go from a strong foundation to one of the premier running events this side of the mountains.
The Stampede has taken place as one of the most iconic events on the local calendar.
"It grew so quick," Fardell said, looking at eight years of running.
"It showed this was the moment for it and people were willing to travel for an unreal experience."
Fardell is someone who is well-placed to comment on the Stampede.
A former marathon runner who contested the World Championships and someone who has competed all over the world in athletics and triathlon.
Having taking part in events like the iconic Ironman World Championship in Hawaii, Fardell knows what it's like to race in picturesque settings.
But the Stampede is something special, as competitors race around Taronga Western Plains Zoo and go past huge amounts of animals.
"The zoo offers something different and unique," she said.
"The organising committee are passionate people who love running and have done so much running, they know what to do and that knowledge is so helpful.
"There's a lot of events on the calendar but Dubbo had the right people."
The numbers have continually pleased all involved as well.
In 2018 the numbers took a dip in 2018 due to rain and muddy conditions, but it was back with a bang in 2019.
"A lot of numbers are declining in running but this is going from strength to strength. It's a great thing for the community," Stampede said.
"It offers something for everyone."
The numbers alone were a simple way to show the Stampede's impact.
There was 1500 competitors in 2012 and within two years that figure had doubled.
Thousands have continued to take part, with locals rubbing shoulders with athletes from all over.
"We had people pushing newborn's to one competitor who is 98, so we cater for all ages and all fitness levels," 2018 committee president Rod Campbell said.
"We are proud of the city we live in and the event does attract people from throughout the state and interstate to compete."
The Stampede has also attracted a huge amount of high-profile athletes.
Paige Campbell, who hails from outside of Warren, has won multiple events at the Stampede across the years and has represented her country in long-distance running and steeplechase.
Former Australian great Rob de Castella has become another regular.
He made the trip to Dubbo with the Indigenous Marathon Project for the first time in 2016 and has continued to support the carnival.
"It's wonderful, this is the first time I've been here for the event," he said in 2016.
"It's great to see the numbers of young kids, families and the serious runners. It's very inclusive.
"It's very unique and I don't think there's any event in the world like this, where you can run through a zoo and it's a beautiful course and a challenging one."
But it's also been all about participation, offering the events for families to take part in together and it's all done while promoting healthy living and being active.
With races continually developing, tracks changing, and high-profile athletes taking part the Stampede shows no signs of slowing down.
Numbers in 2019 were some of the most pleasing yet, with a maximum 100 athletes taking part in the marathon.
But all you need to know about the Stampede was summed up by Daniel Carson, the winner of this year's Cheetah Chase.
"The track was lovely, the course was beautiful, the volunteers here were so great," he said.
The Stampede's impact has also gone beyond performances of athletes on the track.
The Stampede has put money towards charities each year and has helped fund community projects, making the lights around the Tracker Riley circuit a reality.
"We're ticking more boxes than expected," Fardell said.