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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Simon Jackson overcomes setbacks to win Maryborough Gift

Simon Jackson overcomes setbacks to win Maryborough Gift

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Simon Jackson overcomes setbacks to win Maryborough Gift

Bendigo Advertiser
1 Jan 2017

A MELBOURNE athlete, who has overcome multiple career setbacks, sprinted to a popular victory in Sunday's $15,000 Max Martin Memorial Maryborough Gift.

Simon Jackson won his heat and semi-final before outlasting his rivals in the 120m feature event at Princes Park.

The soon-to-be 38-year-old pocketed $8000 for the victory.

"I thought I could give it a real shake and then I saw the times in the semi and thought I would get top two," Jackson said.

"I've been targeting this for a few weeks ... but I will always be remembered for how many surgeries I have had.

"I've had major surgeries, so just to be able to run fast, I'm rapt."

Jackson, who hails from Bentleigh in Melbourne's south-eastern suburbs, had had a leaky heart valve repaired in 2012.

It's just one of the health scares that have dogged his career on the track, including torn hamstring tendons and foot surgery.

Suggestions he is getting better with age proved difficult for Jackson..

"I'll never know because I missed so many years through surgeries," he said.

"I'm close - I don't think I'm as quick at the moment, but we'll see how I am going in another 12 months.”

The win was Jackson's biggest since his heart surgery and a triumph he felt he had been building towards for at least a year.

"I was so bad for 15 months afterwards - I can break 11 seconds for 100 metres," he said.

"Back then I couldn't break 14 seconds, it just hurt to try.

"I was trying everything and suddenly one day it was okay. 

“I didn't think I was going to be running again, I almost retired at the end of last season."

Jackson, who raced off the 9m mark, joked that his win had all but ruined his Stawell Gift hopes this year.

"I'd like to win another big race, but this makes it difficult ... my handicap will be taken a long way back," he said.

"But I don't mind, I'll take the win now."

Jackson completed the win in 12.39 seconds.

Fellow Melbourne sprinter Stuart Rooke (7.25), who also won his heat and semi-final, was  gallant second, while the in-form Matt Rizzo (5.75) was third.

Leigh Phelan (9.75), Andrew Campbell (9.50), Kevin Brittain (7), Michael Voumard (10) and Cam Dunbar (8.25) rounded out the field for the final.

The Gift was the feature event on the program at the 156th Maryborough Highland Gathering.

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