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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Devonport offers richest Women's 1600m in Australia

Devonport offers richest Women's 1600m in Australia

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http://www.theadvocate.com.au/news/local/sport/athletics/richest-kitty-puts-women-on-par-with-men/2401083.aspx

Richest kitty puts women on par with men

BY MARTIN AGATYN
The Advocate
22 Dec, 2011


NEXT week's women's 1600m handicap event at the Devonport Carnival will be the richest race of its type in Australia and will also carry equal prize money to the men's event for the first time.

The Merseylink Mile, as both 1600m events will be known, will be a highlight of the two-day carnival next Thursday and Friday nights.

Through the support of Merseylink Buses, the Devonport Athletic Club has been able to increase the prize money in both races to $3000, making the female event the richest in Australia.

The women's 1600m, which was included on the carnival program for the first time last year, will again be a timed handicap event, with runners sent off from the same start line at timed intervals, as was the case last year.

The men's event, which will be run in the traditional handicap format, has attracted a huge field of 29 runners, compared to 22 last year.

DAC vice-president Rod Walker said the increased prize money had led to entries for both "miles" from Victoria, South Australia, the ACT, Western Australia and all over Tasmania.

"Tasmania's two best 1500m runners, Grant Page, from Hobart, and Sam Ferguson, of Burnie, have both entered and the quality of the fields has ensured both races will be hotly contested," Walker said.

Ferguson recently finished second in the 1500m event at the Zatopek meeting in Melbourne, posting a personal best time of 3 minutes and 44 seconds.

Merseylink director Barry Duckett said his company was committed to helping ensure female athletes competed for equal prize money and he hoped to continue and enhance his involvement next year.

In addition to rich pickings for distance runners, spectators at the Devonport Carnival could also come away winners.

The club also announced last night more than $8000 worth of prizes would be given away during the two nights through lucky program draws.

"The prizes range in value from $50 to $500 and there will be 100 prizes up for grabs," Walker said.

"We're only printing 1000 programs, so that means there's a one in 10 chance of winning a prize and with programs at $6 (covering both nights) it's pretty good value too," he said.

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