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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Womens Gift Problems

Womens Gift Problems

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1 Womens Gift Problems on Mon Dec 12, 2016 3:56 pm

Dragon Walrus

Yesterday was another example of why women wont enter the Womens Gifts.  Once again with little entries and those who ran pulling up or hiding, its shows that especially this season with 60k on the line again for the last time, too many women are scared to enter (and are running in the open races) or just entering other events or not turning up. All the girls who are a chance come stawell just wont enter.
Maybe for the remainder of the season the Val implement the bonus system the open races have to get quality athletes entering to gain that lift for stawell. Thoughts?

Fish Bowls

"Just Swimming Around in Circles"

2 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:23 am


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Giving athletes a handicap reward instead of penalty for winning a race.

We've all gone completely mad!

3 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 11:02 am


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
I agree DizzyRunner, we have developed a culture where we need to 'encourage' runners to win races, WTF. The VAL have gone too far with the number and size of gifts they are applying the Stawell incentive to. With there being so many opportunities for runners to pick up the guaranteed lift it has made it almost impossible for the rank and file athlete to win a 'reasonable' gift'. Imagine if the bonus lift only applied to 4-6 small races across the season, Stawell Gift candidates would actually have to set themselves to try and pick up the bonus. It is an insult to the sport that we offer an incentive for runners to win Gifts like Bendigo, St Albans, etc.

4 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 12:09 pm


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
This philosophy has even crept into the distance events in recent times.

Handicap guidelines say minimum 10m penalty for 1600m races between $501-1000.*

Special exemption made for recent Terang 1600m race and penalty cut in HALF (presumably due to smaller race status), but not applied to Sandringham which has equal prizemoney.

Both bizarre and not communicated to athletes.

*Edited: Handicap Guidelines updated very recently to $600-$1000 although still reads "As updated and effective from 1 October 2015".

5 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 3:57 pm


Sometimes on this forum i get the feeling that people are rowing their own boat.
Here we have an interesting conundrum, Fishbowl wants the women to get the automatic Stawell lift whilst Dizzy and Phantom don't want that system in the open events.After watching gift running for 40+ years and then in my first season as steward having to go through the exacting task of "shifting the wheat from the chaff", I realised something had to be done to improve the performances of those in the "gift Cartel". I obviously always knew what goes on, but now It was my turn to cop the "didn't you see that" from every expert on the track. For those that don't remember the "cartel" consisted of approx 15 athletes with 4 or 5 interchange that would religiously run down the track in smaller gifts ( with times 12.62 to 12.81). Get to the semi final, zip up a little, maybe 1/2 metre, get a tick or make the final ( providing there was a bunny to take first prize in the final.) In the end the "cartel" got the ticks and picked up plenty of minor prize money. Everyone else got "Jack Shite". Sadly most of the cartel were actually kidding themselves when it came to the grand final, but it was still a terrible look for the sport. Thankfully two season's ago ,with the board's support, we introduced the Stawell Gift lift. In 2015/16 it took a while to get going but this season everyone seems to have grasped the idea. We now have smaller gifts where, not only do we get a better class of athlete, but the vast majority are actually trying. We now have watchable gift racing, not Indian File. STONE THE CROWS....we can't have that.
At Sandy Camille ( 2 x SG finalist) , Terang we had Dunmall (Stawell and Stonnington) , W"bool McNamara ( stonnington), Northcote Rizzo (SG finalist 2016). I would imagine that Dayleford and Castlemaine will be flooded with entries from those that fell a little short at the Bay or Burnie. The Cartel is effectively down the bog hole.
Suddenly the argument now becomes the ""rank and file " can't win a race. NEWS wasn't meant to be easy. I want to play for Carlton......apparently not good enough. (punters...insert funny joke)

Phantom also says we now have a system that encourages runners to win....Shouldn't have to answer that but...We introduced a system where, if you won a 550m race during the season you would get an automatic lift of between 2m and 5m for Easter. The 550m, even the crappiest one on the calendar is now the keenest race of the day. In years gone bye they were a disgrace. And believe it or not the lift system hasn't ruined the Stawell gift final or the 550 final. I would love to bring the same system into the 800m events because they are the next events in my line of fire.

And finally Dizzy Dizzy Dizzy never make these sort of mistakes but Terang mile was worth $600 ( penalty 5m). In racing terms "placed to advantage"........might need to update your " ye olde rule tablet"

6 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:24 pm


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Actually Mara, if you read my post again you will realise that I wasn't talking about 550m races, only Gifts that carry enough prestige/prize money that they don't need an incentive for runners to win them.
I support the Stawell incentive but think that a happy medium could be met by reducing the number of races that attract the Stawell lift (see what I did there, I compromised), that way 'good' runners still get to win races that 'great' runners don't want to win and 'great' runners can still get their kick along for Stawell.

7 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:28 pm


Good work Mara. Agree - the depth & quality of athletes having a crack at these minor Gifts is clearly way above the standard it use to be. Just terrific to check the excellent coverage via twitter from the VAL to find out who won and got the bonus lift for Stawell. The speculation is now how much can an athlete like Matt Rizzo find in the next four months knowing he will likely run from 7.25m.

It's a brilliant concept, not without its flaws, but the upside far outweigh the negatives.

"The cartel effectively down the bog hole." That is funny............ lol!

"Let's Go While We're Young"

8 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:51 am


Some valid points Mara. Articulated in a way that most of us should be able to comprehend.
I will address one point though, the “rank and file” runner.
Whilst I am happy the “cartel” are now "down the bog hole", there is an immediate issue for the “rank and file” runner (like myself). We won small races whilst the cartel were operating, in race times well short of the start handicap time. In other words, the cartel allowed us to be the bunny that wins the small ones in say 12.65 secs for 120m (start handicap time 12.45) or 1.56 for 800m (start handicap time 1.52). Whilst it is great to be able to win a small one, it produces a short to medium term problem now the rules have changed as the rank and file runner has been pulled back. The rank and file can now only run 12.75 or 1.57 whilst the cartel and others have built there handicaps up significantly and can run faster than 12.45 and 1.52. Suddenly the rules change to give the well handicapped runners a leg up and the “rank and file” are left behind and are not competitive. If the sport was operating properly at the time, the highest in the pecking would have been winning in about 12.45 or 1.52/1.53 and the rank and file runner would be getting ticks (because they genuinely need them). They would therefore get handicap lifts to get them level with the cartel type runners. Then when the bigger ones come along we are all given and even chance.
The issue for a rank and file (like myself) is they sometimes won more than one race in the same year as they were the only one standing up to take wins. They then copped a double penalty for the multi win (a crazy illogical rule that has hopefully now been scrapped). The race wins were all well short of the start handicap time and the runners are now not competitive. The issue is further magnified as these runners now cannot even get a tick because they cannot get within the acceptable deviation time of the fastest heat now the pace has stepped up at the front.

Not sure of the answer. There was an issue that has now been part fixed. This is a good thing. But now the rank and file are screwed. One fair way would be for the established rank and file runners sample sets to be analysed and then immediately lifted to the start handicap time. Examples;
120m runner who runs about 12.65 off 9.00m. His sample set would indicate he needs about 11.00m. The rules state he cannot have more than 9.00m (what he last started off). After 1 run, if it is satisfactory in the stewards eye, lift the runner to 11.00m so he is on start handicap to run 12.45 time. Or if that seems too drastic, lift him ½ of that and put him on 10.00m. Then lift him to 11.00m after a couple more starts. The main point is get them out quick as they are the main supporters of this great sport of ours.
It seems the OGA runners are getting thrown bones (chunks of lifts) to get them competitive quickly. A runner such as Rosen has been moved out very quickly for a young bloke and along with his improvement is now challenging for gift wins along with the cartel runners and other quality runners. This is a good thing. However, the rank and file established runner rots on his mark and sweats it out every 3-4 starts for a messily 0.25m lift. It will take years for them to get to the start handicap time and be competitive.
Same issues apply for the 800m example. The cartel can win when they want, the young runner is thrown the novice handicap without proper checks of amateur pb’s and in the case of the weekend a 16 year old given 80m in front of novice handicap. Again, the rank and file runner who had multiple small wins will be uncompetitive for years.

In summary.
Whilst you have forced the cartel into the bog hole, they still have handicaps on the start handicap time and can win. The spectacle of the sport is much better as it has enticed better quality athletes to turn up. OGA athletes are moved swiftly to try and get them competitive quicker. All good things.
The issue is you have screwed the one type of runner that kept the sport alive by turning up each week. Why not turn the game further on its head and get these rank and file runners competitive. I know the cartel will not like this !!!

9 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:13 am


You make some good points Ribera. I was nodding along at quite a few things you wrote. Especially that double penalty for multiple wins rule. It sucks Wink haha
But I do think Mara makes some very good points about the quality of the smaller gifts now. I liked racing someone like Issac at Terang! Which otherwise wouldn't happen. And short term it causes some of the problems that you've outlined. But long term maybe it is better? We just don't know yet. But they had to try something. Better than sitting on their hands and doing nothing.
I do agree with an earlier point that a gift like Bendigo shouldn't attract a bonus though due to how highly it is regarded. Maybe it's just for gifts below $4999?

Also let me clarify something. You used me as an example of moving out "quickly". Are there no other runners in the VAL that you know and could use as an example? I think I was treated very fairly but I would hardly call 6 years in the VAL before being successful in some smaller gifts as " moving out quickly". I've only ever made 1 final above $3000. (Also I am not even close to OGA and I only receive the minimum 0.25m lifts after every 3 runs like you said for others)
In fact I have never broken 12.6 for any gift ever. So under your theory I should actually be lifted to 12.45? Not sure that's how it should work...It is up to me to get faster to get to 12.45, not up to the handicappers to give mark.

10 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:26 am


I probably should not have used a specific runner example. It can cause stress on an individual. Sorry if it caused you stress.
I chose your example as you are young, have moved out quickly compared to the old days and you are super competitive in gifts. Not sure if I consider you rank and file as you are young and still improving as a runner so you will improve to your handicap and win in turn.
I'm talking about rank and file runners (probably runners who are no longer improving such as vets) that had the new rules sprung on them at the stat of last season. All of a sudden they are way out of the game.
If you fit in the established runner category and your sample set says you are marked at 12.65 then yes if you cannot win soon then get you out to 12.45. Remember though, anyone who has won this year or last year does not count as they won under the new regime when people have been "trying".

11 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 11:06 am


No stress caused at all! Was just joining the discussion Smile
I am interested in anything that makes the sport/the league better.

And I agree with that point. Although the one hardest variable when judging based purely on times are the tracks (and conditions). I would argue the fastest to slowest tracks differ by almost half a second over 120. Yet the allowance is 0.1 no matter what from grass to rubber track. I think you'll find most people's "ceiling" times all come on the same tracks. Anyone that has run fast at Bendigo won't be seeing a good mark for a few years. And will never get near those times at many other tracks.

12 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 1:56 pm


ProTrack A Grader
ProTrack A Grader
Good on the VAL for trying something different and creating more interest in the Men’s Gifts that keep the sport going, my only reservation is…. if the handicapper feels he has to lift some of the backmarkers to compensate for some of the automatic lifts, which effectively means reducing the limit for the rank and file athlete who do keep the sport going and making up the numbers.

The example being Jack Hale last year where he was on 3.25m whereas the field probably should have been back 1m to 1.25m putting Hale on 2m and accommodating some of the rank and file athletes that are pulled back to the limit or pushed past the limit. Hale arguably would have done better from 2m with the field back 1m??

13 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:06 pm


With approximately 110 entrants the top five times in the 100m Gift Final at Northcote where as such.

1 Blue 2747 Matthew Rizzo 5.50 10.307 (10.402) Completed
2 Yellow 6491 Daniel Sonsini 5.75 10.405 (10.500) Completed
3 White 5525 Nick MacGibbon 5.50 10.427 (10.522) Completed
4 Red 7354 Nathan Riali 3.25 10.515 (10.610) Completed
5 Pink 2514 Stephanie Richards 16.25 10.584 (10.679) Completed

A breakdown of the last four years of the Northcote Gift winning times (adjusted times) are listed.

2016 (Stawell Gift Incentive Rule) - Matthew Rizzo (10.40)
2015 (Stawell Gift Incentive Rule) - Edward Ware (10.56)
2014 (No Stawell Gift Incentive Rule) - Carl Morehouse (10.79)
2013 (No Stawell Gift Incentive Rule) - Nathan Riali (10.76)

Going off the results in this years final the top 4 runners may not have competed in the 2013/14 edition or may not of disclosed there true form (this isn't having a go at any of these runners, but we all know under the old system as Mara said previously there would be a group of runners notorious for picking up tick after tick and prizemoney to go with). These same 4 runners this year may of waited for a bigger race and not ran due to fear of exposing form. All of sudden we have a race that is won in the 10.70 - 10.8 range rather than 10.4. (What would you prefer to see as a spectator).

With the current rule they can run without fear of exposing form as runners will aim to run at 100% of there capacity on the given day, if they wish to remain competitive and receive a AP for there performance, as this would require you to run within 0.55 of the fastest heat time. This can only be good for the sport and the viewing public.

Positives of the Stawell Gift Incentive Rule
- Faster times in field (surely this a positive), I'm sure there would be a considerable drop in entries without this rule, which in turn puts pressure on the athletic club in the long term of sustaining the event. (Sponsors are more likely to commit to prizemoney, if fields were larger and winning times faster).
- Higher entry numbers (fantastic for the Athletic clubs running the meeting)
- Makes each gift regardless of grouping or prizemoney more difficult to win and making it more prestigious.
- Forces runners to improve rather than waiting for the tick system to improve them
- A wider spread of athletes making finals ( Reinforces Mara's point that it removes the same crop of runners playing the system making the same finals week after week).
- Higher quality of runners in the field.

Essentially now to win a gift, a runner will need to carefully plan a training program to perhaps peak to a given race and more importantly be forced to improve and run to the best of their capability if they want to win, and again makes the winner feel like they truly deserved to win the race due to the competitiveness of the field.

How refreshing was it to see a bright young talent like Rizzo win in an adjusted time of 10.40 seconds. Without this rule you would only see times like this being run at a classic like the Stonnington Gift, and even then 10.40 has been faster than the winning time there in some years.

For the sustainability of the VAL to move in a forward direction in the short/long term and produce high class meets this rule is a winner.

Last edited by samq on Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Spelling errors)

14 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:23 pm


Ribera, excellent points, you are a right on the money.
And of course most of our runners are of the "R& F" variety. I recently went to watch the milers club and saw our currently best performed distance runner run 14:33 for 5k. That' a pretty fair run anywhere but he was soundly beaten by a fair number of athletes in the race. We all saw what he did to our distance people on Sunday. So I'm well aware that we are catering for the "R & F". The next phase of these lifts is to either to get the "R & F" to run faster or more competitively. Two possibilities..One, you do by lifting runners and two is much easier,by improving. Believe it or not, for most of our "R & F" it would be much easier and quicker to improve(by training) than waiting for a "bone" from the handicapper. Week after week I see runners walk past me and "blind Freddy" can tell that these runners aren't even part time. ( I'm gunna cop a cook for that one). The next Phase, now is to find a way to get the "dinky dye" runners out to a competitive handicap. And that's something we should push for after Christmas.
I hate to go back to "my day" because it always appears as a cop out, But.
In the 70s 80s and even the nineties you needed to be an exceptional Veteran to be competitive in a open gift. You needed to be in the class of Gary Barker or Bob Wishart and maybe a couple of others. To counter this, and keep vets involved, the VAL introduced Vets racing on a vast scale. Now,If you go back over the recent past years results you will see more gifts won by vets than by non vets. This new "Stawell Gift Lifts" has actually squeezed the vets out of open gifts, which, like it or not is a good thing for the sport. The vets do have good opportunities in their own class. ( probably another cook on the way for saying that).
True, some of the Cartel still have reasonably good handicaps, but you get the "vibe" that they know their clinging on to hope more than destiny.

The 800's cartel, I would prefer, " The 800s Symposium" is in it final days. Unfortunately, at the moment, membership into the symposium is easy due to current lack of competitive numbers but I think numbers are improving as evidenced by 60+ entries on Sunday.

Finally Ribera, love your restaurant, but any chance of a price drop

15 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 3:32 pm


Samq well done
I think we were writing at the same time, you explained the system better than I

16 Re: Womens Gift Problems on Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:15 pm


Spot on Mara.
I have always said we need the standard of our open races at such a high point that only the good or young veterans can squeeze into the limits. If you are not a good enough vet to run in open then you have veteran races. If not a veteran then you simply need to improve. Both sets could then go into the administration side of our sport to stay involved.
To be able to win an open race, from behind the novice vets mark, in your mid forties is one thing. To do it in the red singlet is a disgrace on the sport and the other competitors.

ps. as far as a price drop at the restaurant. Please have your loyalty card stamped when paying your bill and you can have every 10th meal free of charge.

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