Manager - Tom Burbidge
Tom Burbidge has been the Manager 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 $185,000 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 Spence (nee 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.
Stephanie has over 15 years’ experience in the Higher Education sector with capabilities in strategic planning, marketing strategy, event management, customer experience and business process improvement. She has managed university wide events and international and domestic student recruitment and more recently has turned her attention to improving the student/staff experience with a focus on design and lean methodologies.
Vice President - 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 in 1992 (finalist in 1994 & 1999), Bay Sheffield Gift in 1999 (finalist in 2003) and Botany Bay Gift in 2000 and was a member of the Australian Olympic Team in Athens in 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 Managed Services for the Fred IT Group. His previous business experience includes time as GM Operations at Fred, as a HR Consultant, covering Performance Management, Organisational Development and Strategic Advice, along with other 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 - 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 - Matt McDonough
Matthew has over 20 years’ experience in athletics as a runner, trainer and administrator. A two time VRTA Athlete of the year, amongst his wins are the Stawell Herb Hedeman 1600m and Stawell 3200m. Matthew is also a former elite triathlete having won the Australia Duathlon Championship in 2005 and 2008.
Matthew is a Certified Practising Accountant and Fellow of the Association for Tertiary Education Management. He is currently Faculty General Manager at Deakin University having previously held senior financial roles in the public and private sector. Matthew brings a strong background in corporate governance, accounting and more recently education leadership.
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 - Keely Henderson
Born into the world of athletics, Keely Henderson has been involved with athletics since she was 5 years old. In 2014, she competed in her first VAL competition at St Albans.
Prior to joining the VAL circuit, Keely competed in the Australian Youth Championships and has been a Victorian champion and finalist in a range of track and field events.
As a previous winner of the Ballarat Women’s Gift (2017), the Stonnington Gift (2016), and a finalist in the Women’s Stawell Gift in 2015, Keely is very familiar with the VAL circuit. She has also won Open 70m races at Wangaratta and Maryborough.
Currently, Keely is completing a double degree of Bachelor of Health Science/Applied Science (Osteopathy) at RMIT and is an advocate for Women in sport and supporting up and coming junior athletes.
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 - Dominic Condello
With over 30 years experience in the building industry, I have been the Director of Moonee Ponds Plumbing and Bathrooms for the past 20 years. I am a licensed Plumber and Builder and have also completed The Diploma of Building from RMIT.
I have also been a technical regulator at the Victorian Building Authority, Taught English in Japan, and have two Children Valentino and Lucia.
I currently am The Reserves Coach and senior Assistant coach at Moonee Valley FC, and have also previously been a senior coach at Aberfeldie FC.
I came into the sport of athletics as a masters athlete and I am trained by Max Warlow at the Essendon Athletics Club. I hold a few state relay records and have competed for Australia at Masters level. I have previously won the Geelong Gift 100 Masters 2019, Maribrynong 300 Masters 2020, and the Castlemaine Gift 120 Masters 2020.
I love the sport of pro running and am a big advocate for community involvement through sport.
I am also a big advocate for men's and women's health and well being.
VRTA Representative - Kirrily Burnett
Kirrily began pro running at 18 following in her Dad’s footsteps, who ran in the 1980’s. When Kirrily is not running and crafting she is busy working in the early childhood sector as an educator in a community centre.
Kirrily values the importance of early-learning and is equally as passionate for the creative arts, literacy, language linguistics, special needs and STEM.
As well as working on the reconciliation action plan at her centre Kirrily has a strong sense of community and governance, equity and equality, and a voice for the wider community at the VAL
Brian Marantelli - Chief Steward
Wally Meechan - Steward
Graeme Goldsworthy - Sprints Handicapper
Colin Lane - Distance Handicapper
Darryl Nettleton - Masters (35+), Women's Handicapper
Chris Brown - Restricted, 300-400m Open 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