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PROTRACK » GENERAL »  Stawell Gift crowds up between 20 & 30 percent

Stawell Gift crowds up between 20 & 30 percent

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http://www.stawelltimes.com.au/story/1411305/stawell-gift-crowds-up/?cs=1536

Stawell Gift crowds up

By MARCUS MARROW
Stawell Times
April 5, 2013


STAWELL - Stawell Athletic Club officials were digging through their records this week to confirm early beliefs that the crowd for this year's Australia Post Stawell Gift was the best in the past five years.

Athletic Club president, Scotney Hayter, said crowd numbers over the three days were definitely up on last year and officials were confident it stretched a lot further back than that.

"There's no doubt the crowd was up compared with last year, infact the last couple of years," he said.

"We haven't finished all the counting yet, but we are confident it will be the best crowd we have had in the past five years. I would estimate between 20% and 30% up, which is very positive."

Mr Hayter said the appearance of former world 100 metre record holder Asafa Powell had contributed greatly to encouraging people to Central Park.

"Asafa was our big drawcard and without a doubt, his appearance had a big influence on the crowd numbers. He really brought the crowd in on the Saturday," Mr Hayter said.

"His heat, while he was suffering an injury, was still a very fast run heat. There were some people there who believed it to be the fastest anyone has run at Stawell off scratch."

Mr Hayter said the public didn't appear to be deterred by Powell's decision to withdraw from the semi finals on Monday due to a hamstring injury.

"While Asafa didn't run on the Monday, he was still out and about at Central Park walking around, speaking with people and signing autographs. He was probably more accessible to the public than he would have been if he was running," he said.

"Apart from Asafa, we had a lot of other big names running, including Joshua Ross, Tamsyn Manou and also Craig Mottram in the distance events, so people still made the decision to come along and watch.

"With Ross aiming for a third Stawell Gift win and both Aaron Stubbs and Mitchell Williams-Swain going for a second win, there was a lot of interest in the final on Monday.

"All in all, it was a very good day."

Mr Hayter said the crowd over the entire weekend was fantastic, soaking up the family atmosphere.

He said the weather could have been a little more kind, but it didn't deter families from enjoying the running, the fashions and the entertainment on offer.

"My hat goes off to the crowd, they were really well behaved," he said.

"The only thing I could have asked for was a bit more sunshine, but the people came anyway. It was cool, but still nice.

"The ladies day and fashions on the field on Saturday was very well received. They got the raw end of the deal with the weather, with showers passing over just as the parade started, but it was very popular once again. We have received nothing but positive reports about the day.

"Organisers were very impressed, with another attendance in the high 50s for the fashions. It just keeps growing in popularity.

"Adding to that, we once again had the parade featuring local businesses which was well received. The only thing I would like is for more men to enter the fashions and then we could look at increasing sponsorship in some way."

Mr Hayter said while the dust had barely settled after the running of the 132nd edition of the Stawell Gift, the Stawell Athletic Club committee would get straight to work planning for the 2014 event. Planning for 2014 will take on a whole new flavour, with Jump Media no longer taking on the role of promoters for the event.

"We are in negotiations with a group at the moment and as soon as something is finalised, we will release all the details," Mr Hayter said.

"The group we are speaking to were here for the weekend with their families. They had a good look around, asked questions and got a feel for the event.

"Jump's contract finishes at the end of April, so we will be sitting down over the next couple of weeks to discuss finalising a contract.

"From the club's point of view, we would like to publicly thank Jump Media for the fantastic work they have put in over the past nine years. They have done some magnificent work for us and we wish them all the best for the future."

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