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 $160,000 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).
President - 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.
Vice 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.
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 - 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 - Simon Jackson
Simon is a marketing and sales professional in the consumer goods industry. He joined the VAL board in 2019 with the goal of building awareness, trial, and participation in the sport, so professional running can flourish in the future.
Simon's running career started at age 7, and continues today into his Masters years as a self-trained athlete. Simon has won races in every distance from 70m to 300m. Major wins include the Northcote Gift (2012), Sandringham Gift (2014), Maryborough Gift (2017), and Meadowglen Gift (2018).
When away from the track, you may find Simon running after his two children or dog.
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 - Tim Mason
Director - Paul Kinniburgh
Paul was first introduced to Professional Running at early age, and starting competing at 16yrs old.
He is a 27 year veteran of the sport, competing in distances up-to 400m's and Masters events. He would classify himself as a journeyman and has trained with various coaches. His most memorable wins were the 400m double at Ballarat & Ararat meetings in 2007 while training with Jim King.Currently self trained and in the twilight of his career, training at Deakin Uni Geelong
He is an inaugural committee member of the Geelong Gift, and is working hard to maintain its success on the Calendar
Paul's professional background is in sales and marketing, with over 20 years working in Business to business sales. He is currently the Victorian State Sales Manager for Alder Tapware.
You can hear him on 94.7FM where Co-hosts a Friday Morning Breakfast Radio Show on Community Radio.
Paul and his wife Katrina have a daughter Ella.
Director - Neil Blizzard
VRTA Representative - 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.
Brian Marantelli - Chief Steward
Wally Meechan - Steward
Graeme Goldsworthy - Sprints Handicapper
Colin Lane - Distance Handicapper
Darryl Nettleton - Masters (35+), Women's & Middle Distance Handicapper
Chris Brown - Restricted Handicapper
Andrew McDowell - Junior Handicapper
Graeme Walker, Leah Macdonald, Andre Pereira, Perry Cohen, Barry Mullins, Rob Jones - Photo Finish
Nila Blennerhassett - Results
Ian Sibson, Rob McIntosh, Graeme Humphrey, Brendan Ferrari, Matthew Webster - Starters