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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Parkdale Gift to return with race and community events

Parkdale Gift to return with race and community events

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Gift revived as sports carnival

Parkdale Gift to return with race and community events

By Emma Watson
Mordialloc-Chelsea Leader
22 November 2017

Tim Mason, Bob Wishart, Graham Huggins and Parkdale Bendigo Bank manager Peter Wolff at Gerry Green Reserve.

ATHLETES from across Australia and overseas are set to descend upon Parkdale in March when an historical running event is revived.

Tim Mason is bringing the Parkdale Gift back to the Gerry Green Reserve, 54 years after the event was last held, and a week before the infamous Stawell Gift.

The Bonbeach dad, who trains his 14-year-old athletic daughter, Georgia, hopes to offer a “smorgasbord of sport” in one day with boxing, tennis and a community “healthy start” to coincide with the traditional running races.

And with the Stawell Gift being run just a week later, Mr Mason expects plenty of talent will flock to the oval to warm up for Australia’s richest foot race.

“I’m expecting a lot of interstaters to come in and being a non-penalty event, it’s a great opportunity for them to run with great prize money on offer,” Mr Mason said.

“It’s an event they probably won’t have run at before, given we’ve got tennis, boxing and a twilight market and a healthy start event. One of the key things I wanted to do was involve the community.”

The original Parkdale Gift ran in 1963 and 1964.

The then winners Graham Huggins (‘63) and Bob Wishart (‘64) would go on to enjoy successful running careers. Mr Wishart, 75, still competes and the men are ecstatic the race is returning.

“I think what Mr Mason is doing is marvellous,” Mr Huggins said.

The 2017 Parkdale Gift will award $5000 worth of prize money and offer families a twilight market, children’s activities and a mini athletics carnival for the littlies.

Runners must be registered with the Victorian Athletic League to compete for the March 24 event.

Graham Huggins after winning the 1963 Parkdale Gift.

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