CEO - Tom Burbidge
Tom Burbidge has been the CEO of the VAL since May 2013. Tom has qualifications in Event Management and his previous experience includes a diverse collection of work in events ranging from international concerts (Def Leopard, Matchbox20), charity events (Relay 4 Life), award galas, conferences and multiple sporting events. His event management history has had a large focus on operational imperatives, increasing attendance & participation and consumer satisfaction.
Tom re-established the Albury-Wodonga Gift in 2012 after its 60 year absence and the Geelong Gift in 2014 after many years in recess. Both Gifts won Meeting of the Year in their first year on the VAL fixture and have provided over $100,000 in prize money since 2012.
His extensive background in athletics includes competition at club, state and national level as well as several years competing on the professional circuit. He won 2 Open State Titles (ACT) over 200m (2009 & 2010) and won the Stawell Gift in 2010. Tom has numerous other wins including the Temora Gift (2009), Sydney Track Classic 300m (2009) and the Burramine Backmarkers (2009). He is also a currently accredited athletics coach (Lv. 3 Advanced Event Group Coach – Sprints, Relays & Hurdles).
President - Mathew Boyes
Mathew Boyes is a chartered accountant. He is a director of his own chartered accountancy and financial planning firm in Frankston. He currently holds membership with the Institute of Chartered Accountants and SPAA. He has over 15 years’ experience in working with SME and assisting them with their business, taxation and superannuation issues. He has been involved in athletics at various levels since age of 7 and has been involved in VAL competition for over the last 20 years. He has made many finals over various distances and has won a few races over the years. His most recent win was the 2011 Maribyrnong Gift.
Vice-President - Todd Ireland
Todd Ireland began competing in the VAL in 1987, and is still an active competitor and trainer.
He is a 3 time Stawell Gift finalist and in 2015 was inducted into the Stawell Athletic Club Hall of Fame. His major gift wins include a Burnie Gift, Bendigo 1000, Maryborough Gift and Wangaratta Gift. As a trainer he has been Trainer of the Year on two occasions.
Todd joined the VAL board in 2011, is President of the Northcote A.C and is a member of the VRTA committee.
Todd runs his family business Dual Heating & Air Conditioning P/L in Ringwood who are also a sponsor of the VAL. He is married to Sam, and they have three children Jake, Darcy and Ebony.
Director - Andrew McManus
Andrew McManus’ competitive running career spanned 17 years with his first run at Maryborough in 1989 and last at Stawell in 2005. He won the Stawell Gift (1992 – finalist in 1994 & 1999), Bay Sheffield Gift (1999 – finalist in 2003) and Botany Bay Gift (2000) and was a member of the Australian Olympic Team in Athens (2004) for the 4x100m Relay.
Throughout his running career he has always been interested and involved in sports administration and took an active role in the clubs he competed for. From 2005 to 2009 he was a member of the Victorian Runners & Trainers Association (VRTA) and was President from 2007 to 2009. He joined the VAL Board in 2007 and was President from 2009 to 2011. Andrew’s vision for the sport is to see its future secured through continued growth, development and organisational improvements that deliver greater benefits for athletes, trainers, clubs and local communities.
Andrew is the General Manager Operations for the Fred IT Group. His previous business experience includes time as a HR consultant with key areas covering Performance Management, Organisational Development and Strategic Advice, along with a range of Sales and Management roles. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology.
Andrew and his wife Suzie have three children, Milla, Addison and Finn.
Director - Terry O'Donnell
Terry O'Donnell was Handicapper/ Chief Steward for 27 years and previous to that a competitor for 14 years. He is a life member of the V.A.L., A.F.L. Umpires Association, W.R.F.L., W.R.F.L. Umpires Association and A.F.L .Umpires Golf Club. He is a current member of the Hall of Fame of both A.F.L. and W.R.F.L. Umpires.
Terry is the current President of Australian Athletic Confederation. He is current secretary of W.R.F.L. Umpires Association and member of the W.R.F.L. rules Committee. Terry is now retired. He previously was sales manager for a shipping line and President of the Australian-Indonesian Business Council.
Director - Stephanie Mollica
Stephanie Mollica is a keen participant and advocate for track and field and has been competing in athletics since she was 15. While at university, Stephanie was a student representative on the Latrobe Sports Association Board of Management and when she completed university, remained on the board for a number of years. It was during this time that Stephanie discovered her love for sporting administration and she joined the VAL Board in 2016. Stephanie has won professional races across a wide range of distances (70m-800m) and in 2011 she won the Women’s 800m at Stawell. If asked, she will tell you her Bendigo 400m win (2012) from the back-mark and her 2013 Rye 120m Diamond win are the highlights of her
professional running career.
Director - Sue Dunbar
Sue Dunbar has been a Board member for seven years and is the official timekeeper and wind gauge operator. She has been the Treasurer and committee member of the Northcote Athletic Club for many years. Her involvement and interest in professional athletics and the Victorian Athletic League has been a long one. Her father, Stewart Peterson was a long-time professional athlete and she was taken around the Pro-circuit from a very early age. Her first visit to Stawell was at the age of three months. Husband Rick and son Cam both compete and her daughter Nila works as the Race recorder. Sue is also heavily involved with the Mountain District Badminton Association at Kilsyth and plays at least twice a week to keep fit.
Director - Neale Gunning
Neale’s Father was a pro-runner for many years; so, it was no surprise that the son took after the Father, developing a strong interest in the sport and in particular, the Stawell Gift.
His earliest memory of Stawell was watching the TV coverage of Bernie Moss win the Gift in 1973. He did not think it was quite fair that the guy off the front mark won, but it was that intrigue that has sparked a long association with the VAL as both a competitor, and more recently as the distance handicapper.
Neale has joined the Board with a strong desire to improve participation numbers through closer relationships with Junior and Amateur bodies.
Away from running, Neale is a Consultant in the Financial Services Industry and casual tutor at the University of Melbourne.
Director - Arron Downes (Victorian Runners & Trainers representative)
Arron has been an active track and field competitor for most of his life. Starting at Little Athletics, Arron has represented Australia in a national development team as a junior, competing overseas in the US. Professional running since 1999, Arron has won sprint races at Ringwood, Daylesford, Epping and Maryborough, and won the Keilor Gift in 2002. Switching to middle distance, Arron won the 2009 Stawell 550 and 800 metres, and has since won the Keilor and Burramine backmarkers miles. Arron won the Bruce Walker trophy at Stawell in 2008 and 2009. Arron has been on the VRTA committee since 2014, and was a member of the organising committee for the inaugural 2010 Movember Gift.
Arron has worked in the aviation industry for 13 years, and is an Aviation Rescue Fire Fighter. Arron has previously studied and worked in the IT industry, and has been involved in logistics project management, and workplace health and safety. As the VRTA representative on the VAL board, Arron provides an avenue for athletes and their trainers to raise ideas and concerns, and can be contacted at [email protected]
Michele Taylor (Administration officer)
Brian Marantelli (Chief Steward)
Wally Meechan (Steward)
Graeme Goldsworthy (Sprints Handicapper)
Colin Lane (Distance Handicapper)
Darryl Nettleton (Restricted, Women's & Middle Distance Handicapper)
Perry Cohen, Matthew Webster, Michele Taylor, Colin Lane, Sue Dunbar, Tom Burbidge (Photo Finish)
Nila Blennerhassett (Results)
Maurice Campbell, Ian Sibson, Rob McIntosh, Graeme Humphrey, Brendan Ferrari, Bill Sutton, Matthew Webster (Starters)