August 3, 2021
Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival supports local children’s swim program to help save little lives.

[Pictured: Parents Ash, Matt, and son Hunter]


The Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program has been announced as the official charity partner for the 2021 Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival, which is scheduled to take place on 21st and 22nd August, 2021

The festival has something for all ages and abilities, with categories including a marathon, team marathon, half marathon, 10km run/walk, 7km trail run and 2km Kids Dash. Each distance starts and finishes at the stunning Victoria Park Lake and apart from the 2km event the longer distances wind along the bank of the beautiful Goulburn River.

President of the Shepparton Runners Club, Mathieu Ryan, said that the Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program provided an ideal fit for the festival.

“The Shepparton Running Festival has always supported the Greater Shepparton community by aligning with local charities. This year we are proud to help support The Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program and support the Hunter Boyle family. We have always found that locals support locals, and this cause is very close to home”.

 “Registrations are still open for the 2km and 7km distances and the event management team are monitoring entry numbers for the long–distance events making sure we are within the current COVIDSafe regulations.  Whether you are aiming for a PB on the fast, flat course or if you simply want to enjoy a run on a beautiful scenic route, the festival has something for everyone.”

Families and the youngest members of the community are encouraged to dress up as their favourite superhero and participate in this year’s RiverConnect 2km Kids Dash, which is dedicated to Hunter. All festival participants are encouraged to donate, and funds raised from the festival will support the Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program to continue to provide free lifesaving swimming lessons and water safety education to children and families in need.

Greater Shepparton City Council Mayor, Cr Kim O’Keeffe, encouraged people from across the state to participate in the wonderful family-friendly weekend.

“I am really delighted to invite everyone from the Greater Shepparton community to participate in this year’s Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival. The event provides a great opportunity for everyone to have fun and enjoy our local scenery, all while supporting the Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program and honouring little Hunter’s legacy”, said Cr O’Keeffe.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of unintentional death for Australian children under 5 years of age. In 2020/21, Victoria experienced the highest childhood drowning rate in over 20 years (since 1999/2000), with at least 14 drowning deaths of children aged 0-14 years.

President of Kidsafe Victoria, Erica Edmands, highlighted the dangers that water can pose for children and the impact that support from events such as the Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival, can have in preventing drowning incidents.

“20 seconds and a few centimeters of water is all it takes for a toddler to drown. This means that dams, rivers, water tanks, animal drinking troughs, fishponds, and even pet’s water bowls can all pose a potential drowning hazard.”

“The support provided by the Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival and the local community will not only allow the Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program to provide children with the opportunity to learn lifelong water safety skills, but also go a long way to saving lives”, said Ms Edmands.

To learn more about the Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program, please visit the Kidsafe Victoria website.

For more information about the Campbell’s Shepparton Running Festival and to enter visit:

Background on Hunter Boyle drowning incident:
On 12 August 2020, Ash Napolitano and Matt Boyle lost their beautiful 2-year-old boy, Hunter. Tragically, he drowned in a Grahamvale dam while visiting his Grandfather’s farm. He was feeding the horses, when in an instant he went missing and was found unresponsive in the water a short time later.

Hunter was rushed to Goulburn Valley Health in Shepparton where doctors, nurses and members of The Royal Children’s Hospital PIPER Unit spent close to seven hours fighting to save his life. Devastatingly, Hunter couldn’t be saved.


Background on Hunter Boyle Children’s Swim Program:
Ash and Matt have partnered with Kidsafe Victoria to help ensure that children in the Shepparton region who would not ordinarily have the means to access swimming lessons, are provided with the opportunity to learn these lifelong skills.

The Program provides children with free swimming lessons for 12 months, water safety education and swimming accessories for them and their parents. It is supported by a number of local community organisations including the Greater Shepparton City Council, Aquamoves and The Bridge Youth Service.

Ash and Matt’s hope is that this Program will be rolled out across all of regional Victoria.

For more information on water safety for children, please visit the Kidsafe Victoria website.