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PROTRACK » GENERAL » the stawell limit

the stawell limit

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1 the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 4:34 pm


how about a race for those who all year who have supported the season and are going to be screwed by the limit the melbourne cup gives top and bottom wieghts a chance it is the greatest race in the world i fully understand the public need for the best but dont burn the ones who week in and out support our sport have a 2000 grand race call it the val stawell runners handicap and the inportant sash gone is the dark horse now we have these limits my support is for all runners not just a special few

2 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 5:16 pm

David Culbert

Hi Terry,

SAC will happily run a "Stawell Plate" for those runners squeezed out of the limit by Asafa Powell.

However you will need to raise the cash for that event as the SAC hasn't the funds to pay for it. Sponsorship needs to cover more than just the prize money as a proportion needs to go to the operational costs of putting on the three day carnival that has TV coverage, etc, etc.

Feel free to call me to discuss it. Maybe the VAL could fund it out of the % of entry fees they collect from Stawell entries.

With regards to the Melbourne Cup - they changed their model a number of years ago. No longer do the rank and file get a run in the 24 horse Melbourne Cup field. They subsidise the internationals and pay for overseas celebs to come. With that has come big increases in sponsorship, TV, and crowds.

Bart Cummings was the most vocal about local horses being balloted out. He hasn’t trained a winner since, because the quality of the race has improved dramatically. Country battlers who are the lifeblood of racing rarely get a start now, but they do get a start in support races on Cup Day and the other days of the spring carnvial. To some that is sad, to others it’s progress, to the VRC it’s a fact of life.

Now maybe it’s not the perfect model, but I can guarantee you that Australia Post, ASICS, Endura, XXXX, etc will not good money pay to be associated with an event that doesn't have media appeal.

If they did, they would sponsor all the other events on the VAL calendar.

They don’t read this forum, but they do read the Facebook page and we will have to answer why someone like you doesn't want Asafa to run, just as we had to answer why the VRTA sent out a survey expressing concerns about Asafa running . They will question why they stay involved. Without them, Stawell becomes like every other VAL event, which might be how you want it.

3 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 7:29 pm

The Sheik

Rang the VRC the other day. See, my fastest camel "ihump" is considered not good enough for the Melbourne Cup. I wanted the VRC to put another 2 miler on the cup day program to cater for camels balloted out of the 24 spots for the MC.
VRC said no can do. They said sell more kebabs and buy a decent horse. Alas I will watch & enjoy instead. Many other camel races around so will settle for one of those.

All the camels complaining about the Great Asafa should look for another race. Enjoy Great Asafa v Great Khan in The Stawell Gift.
Like MC, the SG is not designed to be won by camel.

4 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:06 pm


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star

Thankyou for taking the time to post on the forum.

I question the sustainability of the model you speak of. Once the $600,000 in government subsidies dries up, do you honestly think that the structures and relationships that yourself, Jump Media and others will leave behind will be enough to ensure the event can maintain the current path?

The current model is not unlike that which caused the crash of several A-League clubs, several NBL clubs, and more generally the Global Financial Crisis. It involves artificial growth (money borrowed or obtained from an outside source unrelated to the activity used to grow an event). It works fine until the source of that borrowed money dries up. When S.A.C has no more money to pay the Cheobois Mottrams and Powells to turn up, we will be left with the everyday 'pro-runners'. That is if we haven't pushed them and their families out of the sport by making their biggest event of the year inaccessible. There is the danger that this will have a flow on effect to other smaller events as runners stop chasing ticks at the smaller country meets because they know they cannot race at Stawell.

As always, time will tell. I hope I am wrong, and the work of Jump Media grows the event for the long-term, and not just for the life of the contract between Jump Media and S.A.C. However, the literature on the economics of 'artificial growth' is extensive, and I'd sooner bet on myself to final at Stawell, than put my faith in Asafa solving any of the challenges that pro-running faces.


5 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:22 pm

David Culbert


You may well be correct.

The alternate model is a valid one. That is the same as every other event on the VAL calendar which are mostly sustainable, albeit without any public profile outaide the local area. Nothing wrong with that at all.. in fact its very good.

Some do it better than others, but the bigger ones all have some sort of benefactor, whether it be the City of Ballarat for Ballarat or Bendigo Bank for Stonnington. When they go, the $$ will drop.

Not even CrocMedia could make Gippsland sustainable, so I can tell you, its no easy task.

The same is true of Stawell, but make no mistake, no sponsor will pay the money they pay for Stawell without a return on investment either via direct business or awareness or a combination of both.

A few years ago the concept of taking Stawell back to a 'picnic' meeting was discussed by the SAC and it was rejected by the Committee, just as they rejected a move to Ballarat. Whilst the Stawell sash drives the rank and file, would Stawell be Stawell without the big cheque, TV coverage, mass media interest and 10 x the crowd of any other meetings. Some say yes, some say no.

This is our last year as we have decided after 9 years that its time to move on and let someone else have a crack. As employees of the SAC, whoever follows us will do what we have done and that is develop a strategy based on the objectives of the Club... their objective is to remain "Ever Foremost"

What would you suggest SAC does in 2014 to remain Ever Foremost?

6 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:51 pm


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
They don’t read this forum, but they do read the Facebook page and we will have to answer why someone like you doesn't want Asafa to run, just as we had to answer why the VRTA sent out a survey expressing concerns about Asafa running . They will question why they stay involved. Without them, Stawell becomes like every other VAL event, which might be how you want it.

No Mr. Culbert they do not read this forum but what they do read is the way you spin and manipulate the facebook page and how you manipulated Terry's comment.

The VRTA (which is the runners and trainers representative group) and Terry as well as all runners definitely want Asafa to run and it will be awesome to see him tear up the Central Park track. However, what they have all stated is that they want the everyday runner from Adrian Mott to Matthew Harvey to be fairly treated and have as much chance as Asafa Powell to be competitive on Easter Monday as in regards to their ability they will aim to get the best out of their performance.

At some point no one knew who Chris Perry, Steve Brimacombe and Joshua Ross were but one Easter Monday morning they were back page heroes. Not all Stawell Gift winners go on to be national representatives but all of them performed on the day and are champions in their own right. Is Daniel Millards win any less deserving than Joshua Ross'?

What would you rather see Asafa Powell winning by 4m running 11.90 or Asafa Powell coming 2nd by 0.01 to a runner off 12m?

Come on Big Dave stop trying to spin that everyone doesn't want Asafa here and that we all see him as the bad guy - we all can't wait to see him run and it is a great coup. But on the other hand we all can't wait to see who the smokey for the weekend is, who posts an electrifying time on the Saturday but goes missing on Monday, the frontmarker who is on his way to a win but tightens up when in sight of the line, the 2 backmarkers who get stuck in a battle with each other and the frontmarker hangs on for the win and the honest performer who has been consistent week in and week out who happens to pull one out of the box.

This is also what the Stawell Gift has always been about and we all hope this is what the Stawell Gift is always about and if Asafa takes home the sash I am sure he will add to the mystique that is the Stawell Gift!

Never forget when the Flying Lewanskis stood up on the hill cheering home their beloved Andrew Pym who had 1 great season and for 24 hours was a hero. How many people remember the name Andrew Pym now? But you Mr Culbert will remember his name forever because you were part of that dream that he had that weekend.

7 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:00 pm

David Culbert

Sorry I missed your name?

Who are you?

8 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:08 pm


dave i have been going to stawell as a runner and a spectator and a trainer since 1978 i even have a stawell sash and i can assure you from what i have seen over the last few years when you have been in charge you have done nothing to add to the mystique of running at stawell.all you have done is make plenty of money for your business and done nothing for the average runner who keeps stawell going.

9 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:10 pm

David Culbert

Another brave annonymous poster.

Happy to answer your questions and accusations if you have the courage to reveal your identity.

10 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:14 pm


I disagree with that comment! Dave has definitely turned the event into something even bigger and better. The TV coverage is great, and I love the chance to run against international stars, not to mention the chance have a drink with them afterwards. DC, you will find me at the bar, monday night, after the gift sharing a drink with yourself and Asafa. On me! Bring on Stawell! And stop all your bitching people!

11 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:20 pm


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
I believe he is far from an anonymous poster as his name is right there for you to see!

Mr Knott I am sure will not be visiting the XXXX angels at Stawell but will be enjoying a nice glass of white on ladies day.

Also good luck to your lads in the Opal Johnny!

12 Re: the stawell limit on Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:47 pm

David Culbert

Certainly more for the love than the money John, which is one of the reasons why we our time is up, as you correctly point out, we are running a business.

What we do (along with SAC) for the average runner is provide $120,000 in prizemoney, put them on TV around Australia and across Asia Pacific, and for the winner of the Gift who is more often than not an average runner, they get on every TV station around Australia. How many other athletics events do that for the average runner?

Jump is not just me, we have four staff working virtually full time on Stawell for months. On the weekend of the event, including TV crew we have over 40 staff. They are not volunteers, but professionals. Alas, in 2013, that comes at a cost, to you, to SAC and to Jump.

In 2013, mystique isn't enough John. That might have worked in 1978 when there was no VFL on Easter Monday, no VFL TV at all, etc. Times are different, BTV 6 doesn't exist. 30 bookies don't go to Stawell and the train from Melbourne stops at Ararat and this Easter, won't even run at all due to rail works between Melbourne and Ballarat.

Most sponsors have been long term over the past nine years and would disagree with your view. Even Australia Post who informed us in our very first meeting with them back in October 2004 that they were out and we asked them for one year to show what we could do, plus the TV network that used to demand a fee to show the event when we started, but now take the event without it, etc, etc, would have a different view to you.

If you want to continue to discuss, feel free to give me a call. The Jump office number is not hard to find.

13 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 7:50 am


pro athletics in victoria is run from november to easter and the average runner runs all over victoria keeping the pro circuit alive.some of these average runners want a stawell sash in any distance not just the was going years ago on sat & mon live thruout victoria and the crowds are no bigger than when the train was running to stawell from what i read on this forum the average runner wants to run in the gift and they may not be able to this year and thats not good for pro running in victoria.

14 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 9:58 am


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Unless Im mistaken ,the 200m will be one of the best supported and more interesting to watch as athletes look for an alternative to the Gift.
Nothing will be more exciting to see, than runners who dont normally run the 200m sweeping off the bend in exciting finishes.
Crowd will be much larger than normal on the day the heats of the 200m are run.

15 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:20 am


I don't understand, nor can find, where it has been stated or announced that Asafa is going to be the "saviour" of Stawell. He will most certainly add to the excitement of Easter, within the pro running community, and to the hype of the unconverted or those outside of the running community, for those few weeks leading up to Stawell. Dependent on how he performs at Central Park, he may or may not soon be forgotten, or he may forever live on in the hearts and minds of those "who were there to see him run", and hopefully, run well. (I'm still not convinced he'll even make the final, but that's for another day...what do I know? I hope I'm wrong, as, even for this old dizzy runner, what a sight it would be).

However, was Ravelo ever touted to be the savoir of Stawell? Warren Edmonson? George McNeill? The Ezenwa twins? Cathy Freeman? Linford Christie? Christain Malcolm? Obadele Thompson? Jon Drummond? Kim Collins? Michael Frater? Seems we (and those who try, and are responsible in getting internationals to Stawell) are damned if we do and damned if we don't. In the years when there has been no international flavour at Central Park, we hear snippets of "a lack of flair or excitement" banter, lazily slide around through the massage rooms and the grandstands, and the in the years of the "big names" going down the gift track, the same lazy banter of "what a waste of money it is/was", to have that runner out here. The stories of these runners will, for some, be but a fleeting comment here or there, and for other, be discussed at length, for years to come, over many an ale at the Gift Hotel, a squad training session or around the BBQ.

At the end of the day most of those in the pro running community will still venture to Stawell each Easter (myself included), whether there are big names there or not, and most of those in the pro running community will still have their same opinions, gripes or suggestions (myself included) about the sport they live and love. And there will always be the debate/argument, call it what you like, about the "golden number" of a Stawell gift limit, and what it should be. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm sure that this is not a new debate, and sure, a limit will squeeze out many runners from being competitive at Stawell, but really isn't that the point of a "limit"? I really don't have a valid opinion, nor do I suggest I have the answer, however I'm also pretty sure that if you asked those same runners who are being "squeezed" out of being competitive, most of them would be quite content in the fact that maybe it's not a race they were meant to win, but it won't stop them from entering the gift and having a run down the magical Stawell gift track. I only ever made the gift semis once at Stawell, after numerous tries, and I never thought of myself to be a chance, but it was never a deterrent for me not to enter. I don't know that many runners on the limit cusp would think of themselves as unfairly treated. I can't speak for those runners, but, even so, I'm sure there will still be the excitement of the opportunity of possibly lining up next to the Asafa's of the sport, which is something that we are able provide in pro running, that not many other sports have the capacity of providing.

At the end of the day, business is business. The VAL is a business. The Stawell Gift is a business. DC runs one, and runs one well. Probably one of the best in his line of work. Does he think he is the saviour of Stawell? I'd assume he would not, but he has certainly and undeniably assisted this event to carry through some very tough economic and popularity troubled times, quite seamlessly over his tenure. It doesn't take a genius to work out how much that anything on major networks and print media has to compete with the AFL, anytime from now until September. Whether you like it or not, and I love my footy, this is an undeniable fact. So, to have 3 hours of pro running on TV on Easter Monday, in this day and age, in Victoria, to me, still seems like nothing short of a miracle, and I for one am very appreciative of this feat. No doubt that DC has played a major part in this over his tenure involved with Stawell. There will be some interesting, and hopefully exciting times ahead for Stawell in the future. My hope is that Stawell, and pro running in general can be sustainable, in future changing times. I quote from one of DC's previous posts, "...would Stawell be Stawell without the big cheque, TV coverage, mass media interest and 10 x the crowd of any other meetings. Some say yes, some say no". Anyone who has a passion for sport in this this country, whether involved in pro running or not, I'm sure would wish for Stawell to remain "Ever Foremost". For some, just running at Stawell, over any distance, will be their "Ever Foremost". For others, this may not ever be enough. I'm hoping that the former will carry enough strength to see this iconic event, as well as our iconic sport, through whatever the future may hold, and through whoever may hold it.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at St Bernard’s, Bendigo, Burramine, Euroa, Maribynong.....and Stawell. Good luck to all for the remainder of the season. Downesy.

16 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:22 am


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Whilst we all have varying opinions on how the both Stawell Gift and the VAL should be managed, the fact is that in an extremely competitive and difficult market, the Stawell Gift remains one of the icon sporting events in Victoria. Obviously Jump have been a driving force in that over the last 9 years and that needs to be recognized. All us old Pro's remember the good old days, but they are long gone. In order to stay relevant the Stawell Gift has to continue to reinvent itself and the challenge is how to do that whilst maintaining it's heritage and history.

I personally think we have the balance between the competing interests pretty right and I congratulate DC and Jump for their work over the years and wish them and the newcomers the best of luck. Marketing and presenting the Stawell Gift will continue to be a massive challenge, just as it is for the the entire VAL going forward.

In regards to the Gift,with the extended 12 metre limit the majority of Pro sprinters will be able to run in the Gift. Further to that there are a multitude of events for all and sundry to run at Stawell. Lets enjoy the great carnival of athletics it will be.

17 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:14 am


This is the stuff that makes Protrack worth checking every day.
Good balanced perspective from Downesy and MOB. Thanks guys.
Compelling arguments from men who have a deep passion for the sport and its traditions but also appreciate the complexities and difficulties of the Stawell Gift surviving in the modern era.

18 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 11:32 am


The whole idea of handicap running is to get all runners in a race to finish the race as one, with the best runner on the day being able to get over the line first. If the public want to see the elite runners win, then they should go to the Athletic Australia meets, IAAF World Athletic Championships, Commonwealth games or the Olympic Games. The Stawell gift is there for all who enters to have a chance of winning from a fair handicap.

19 Re: the stawell limit on Fri Mar 01, 2013 2:27 pm


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Fabulous assessment there Elk and your final words sum up this whole discsussion "winning from a fair handicap". A 12m limit is a fair limit and a fair old handicap. If you need more than 12m you don't deserve it.

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