Rob Wood

Rob's Sports, Fitness & Science Blog

Stawell Gift

April 17th, 2006 · No Comments · Track & Field

It is the Easter long weekend in Victoria, which for the sports lover means the Stawell Gift is on. I am back living here in Vic after living elsewhere around Australia for the last 20 years. I had forgotten how passionate the Vics are about sport, an the Stawell Gift is one of those passions. I would be lucky to hear boo about it anywhere else in Oz. The Stawell Gift is held in country Victoria every Easter. It is a handicap race, run over 120m for the back markers running off scratch. It is the oldest professional footrace in the world, first run in 1878 and won by a farmer W. Millard. A little about pro running – professional running is popular in Australia, I’m not sure if there is much of it going on elsewhere. It developed over 100 years ago as an alternative to amateur running, which was a requirement of participation at the Olympic Games. Professional runners race for prize money, and betting on the runners is also popular. The runners are handicapped by giving the slower runners a start – the distance determined by previous running form. The most famous professional running race in Australia is the Stawell Gift, and is called by some the ‘Melbourne Cup of running’.

Related Pages: professional running races

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