A PAST winner and previous winners at Stawell headline this Sunday’s Terang Gift meeting.
Set for the Terang Recreation Reserve, 443 entries were received for the Victorian Athletic League sanctioned meeting which features 12 events.
Terang Athletic Club president Ken Plummer said the likes of Isaac Dunmall and Liv Ryan would headline the $2600 open 120 metre Roy Northeast Terang Gift and the $1650 women’s open 120 metre Jill McKenzie Terang Gift.
“We are really pleased with the high quality athletes that are coming to our meeting,” he said.
“People who are into running know the Stawell Gift and those who aren’t are aware of it so to have Stawell Gift winners actually competing at Terang is great for the club.
“Isaac Dunmall is coming down, he won both the Stawell and Terang Gifts in 2016, he’s returning to Terang and Liv Ryan, who in the women’s is in three events, is also coming I think.
“To have that calibre of athlete (at our meeting) is really good for the club and the community.”
Plummer said the club had also attracted winners of events at other gift meetings in recent years.
“We also have other athletes, for example Jack Ireland won the 400 metres at Stawell this year and by all accounts is running quite quickly,” he said.
“Mason Keast from Ballarat is another who placed at Stawell in 2018, he’s always a good chance and is a smart runner as well.
“In the women’s, Tiana Shillito won the Bendigo Gift last year as well so she’ll be a strong chance.
“And another is Zoe Neale who ran fourth at Stawell last year. She’s already won a 100 metre race this season.”
The rest of the card will see events including the Richard Wearmouth women’s and masters (over 35s) 300 metres, the Tony Arundell women’s and masters (over 35s) 120 metres, the Jack McCunnie open 70 metres and the Laurie Heffernan open 1600 metres held.
The under 14 and under 18 120 metre gifts, the 120 metre Terang Junior Gift (under 16) and the open 400, 800 and restricted 400 metre events will round out the meeting.
Plummer said the club was thrilled with the entries for those remaining events and was proud to host the Terang Junior Gift at their meeting.
“Once again we were really happy with the numbers due to the increase but we also think we’ve attracted the cream of Victoria’s and South Australia’s runners which for a small country town is quite an achievement,” he said.
“We look forward to seeing our community there on the day and it promises to be an action-packed day of fine-quality racing.”
Club great Laurie Heffernan said he was anticipating another great meeting after the club received “great sponsorship” from local businesses for their feature event.
He said he was proud to see the gift meeting building within the town every year and said the community support was getting better with each edition.
He said he was looking forward to a good day’s racing and presenting the sashes to the winners of the Laurie Heffernan open 1600 metres event.
“It’s just improved that little bit every year,” Heffernan said.
“It’s (running) not the greatest of spectator sports but we’re just getting that little bit more of a crowd each year so we’re going in the right direction.
“It puts Terang on the map a little with people coming to the town and staying in the town so it generates a buzz.
“It’s a reunion for me because I used to be a runner so it should be a great day.”