FOR decades at least one member of the Noden family has marked a new year by racing around Maryborough's Princes Park.
The New Year's Day tradition will continue tomorrow when Peter Noden and sons Jess and Tom compete at the 153rd Maryborough Highland Gathering.
Athletics has played a big part in the life of the Nodens.
It was more than 60 years ago that Keith Noden contested his first event on the professional athletics circuit.
Since then Keith's sons, Peter and Phil have criss-crossed Victoria to compete at many carnivals.
Jess and Tom Noden have nominated for several events on the Maryborough card.
The campaign for Jess includes the open 800m and 1600m.
Tom has spent many New Year's Days watching at Princes Park, but this time he will be on the track in the novice 400m and under-20 800m.
Peter will contest the veterans and women's mile and open mile.
"Maryborough is always a great day," Peter said.
"It's a unique event, has a lot of history, and there's the Scottish influence through the Games, Bands and Dancing."
Phil Noden nominated for some runs at Maryborough, but the 43-year-old is a doubtful starter because of injury.
Peter, 46, plays a key role as trainer for Jess and Matt.
Training is not just on the track at Bendigo's Tom Flood Sports Centre in Barnard Street or the La Trobe University Bendigo athletics complex in Flora Hill.
"We do a quite few runs through the bushland," Peter said.
"It's all about making training a challenge, but also fun."
Jess, 22, has excelled in many runs between 800m and 3200m. He will race at Maryborough for the fifth time.
The hit-outs at Maryborough will play a crucial role in more runs on the Victorian Athletic League circuit in 2014.
Carnivals on the list for Jess Noden include Wangaratta, Bendigo International Madison and the Stawell Gift.
Tom Noden said the 400m was his strongest distance.
"I have been switching training between the 400 and 800, but the 400 is my strongest distance at the moment," the 16-year-old said.
The field for the novice 400m at Maryborough includes several Bendigo athletes.
For all the field it will be a great experience running before such a big crowd.
Younger members of the Noden family, Will and Sam are also keen athletes.
Both have been racing and trying various events at the Bendigo Little Athletics Centre.
Among the biggest supporters of their athletics pursuits is Cathy, wife of Peter and mum of Jess, Tom, Will and Sam.
The athletics action at Maryborough on New Year's Day begins at 10am.
Feature sprint events are the Bendigo Bank Maryborough Gift (120m), and Maryborough Highland Society Women's Necklace (120m).
Admission prices to the Highland Gathering at Princes Park are $14 adult, $7 aged pensioner, $28 family two adult children under-16, $5 12 to 16 years.