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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Queanbeyan Gift growing its reputation

Queanbeyan Gift growing its reputation

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1 Queanbeyan Gift growing its reputation on Sat Nov 23, 2013 9:19 pm

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http://www.queanbeyanage.com.au/story/1928080/a-gift-that-comes-with-plenty-of-memories/?cs=12

A Gift that comes with plenty of memories

By Andrew Johnston
Queanbeyan Age
Nov. 23, 2013


KEN English is in a better position than most to evaluate just how much the Queanbeyan Gift has grown since re-emerging on the NSW athletics calendar 13 years ago.

As president of the NSW Athletics League, English played a major role along with Simon Kinsmore and Hugh Percy in reviving the Gift in its modern iteration in 2000.

“When we first started it no one knew what a Gift was, even in Queanbeyan people hadn’t heard of holding a professional footrace before,” English said.

“Now everyone knows the Queanbeyan Gift, the brand is really recognizable around this area which was never the case before 2000.”

English reserved much of the credit for breathing new life into the event to Percy, the then-Queanbeyan City Council general manager.

“Hugh had come up from Albury where professional running was quite a well-known thing so he was quite keen to get something going up here,” he said.

“He was the one who really drove it and since we got that first one up and running [in 2000] it’s just kicked on and got bigger and better.”

Professional running carnivals have taken place locally since the 1940s with the Queanbeyan Gift previously serving as a much smaller lead-in event to the Canberra Gift, which is no longer held.

While the Canberra event has faded from the calendar, the Queanbeyan Gift has grown from strength-to-strength after a modern revival at the turn of the century.

With total prize money for the event now topping $40,000, English said the Queanbeyan Gift had become one of the premier events in Australian athletics.

“There’s absolutely no doubt it’s the biggest professional athletic event in NSW and the most well-known event in NSW,” he said.

“It’s got a fantastic reputation and that’s why we’ve been able to attract top quality runners from across the country here to Queanbeyan.”

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