VAL News

March 2019 Newsletter

Posted in: Newsletters

Autumn is here and with it comes crisp mornings and warm days. Walking my son to kinda last week, the cool air and smell of the dew on the grass reminded me of warming up early on the first day of racing at Easter. Stawell is soon upon us and for many it represents the end of a long season of training and racing. I am excited and I am sure many of you are too. Before we get to head up the Western highway we have two metro races in Berwick and Ringwood which means 21 more sashes will be awarded including the richest Open 400 on the calendar. Good luck to all athletes.


Victorian athletes are reminded that entry to this race requires competing in at least one 1600m Restricted race during the season. The final 1600m Restricted race of the season will be at the Ringwood meeting. Entries close this week. Enter


In the last 3200m race before Stawell, the prize money for the 3200m Open at Berwick has been increased to $800 thanks to the Victorian Cross Country League.


The Herb Hedemann 1600m Invitation at the Stawell Gift is will be open for nomination shortly. Nominations can be made via the link Stawell Gift page on the VAL website. We will advertise as soon as nominations are available.



Reminder to all athletes that it is your responsibility to submit your lifetime personal best performances to the VAL. Other results including wins & placing's at interstate pro running meets must also be submitted. In addition to lifetime PB's, it is recommended that athletes new to the VAL also submit season best performances.
Performances can be submitted on the
 Athlete Profile page of the VAL website. You must be logged in to access this page.


The VAL Facebook group (different from the Facebook page) would like as many VAL members to join as possible. Along with emails and survey's, it's another way for us to seek feedback from members.

(You must have a Facebook account to join the group)


2010 Stawell Gift winner Tom Burbidge is the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian athletic league.

David Griffin had a chat to the former sprint champion about athletics and the future of the VAL.

How did you get into Pro running?
I played every sport under the sun growing up but decided to concentrate on sprinting when I was about 17.
I found a squad in Albury where I grew up and they introduced me to pro running. John Adams (Stawell Gift finalist) guided my early movements on the track and was very supportive of my career.

Who trained you?
I had a couple of trainers in my late teens but it wasn’t until I moved to Canberra in 2006 when I met Matt Beckenham, who went above and beyond and really got the best out of me.
There was a time when I quit my job and concentrated solely on training for about 4 months and the dedication that I put in was given back twofold by Matt.
I probably wasn’t the easiest person to coach so I’m indebted to his perseverance.
How many races did you win?
I won about seven or eight pro races across NSW, VIC and TAS and a couple of state 200m titles.
What your biggest highlight?
Without doubt, the semi final of the 2010 Stawell Gift is my most loved race.
To me, it was as technically sound as I could be. I struggled with injuries so I’m thankful I was able to piece it all together for one race of perfection at least once in my career.
How did you become CEO of the VAL?
After I finished competing, I contacted the VAL to let them know of my eagerness in being involved in the league.
It was a year later after moving from Canberra to Melbourne that an opportunity presented itself. So I started knocking on the door. Then I knocked a little louder. I basically kept knocking until they let me in. I can be quite persistent.
My background in event management, along with my athletics experience, including starting the Albury Wodonga Gift in 2012, gave me a good head start into the role.
What are the challenges you face as a CEO?
Where do I begin? It hasn’t been easy. Being the only employee, I’m stretched across all areas from managing memberships and liaising with clubs, athletes and trainers to and handling the website, finances in & out, and managing the equipment and training for officials.
Finding a willing support network and people that possess the right skills to help drive the sport forward has been the greatest challenge. Many people have a lot to say, but not many are willing to put up their hand and contribute.
The world is changed by your example, not by your opinion. And that is what it’s going to take. The VAL recently appointed its first female president in 124 years, Stephanie Spence. Steph along with Tim Mason (Parkdale Gift organiser) have been a breath of fresh air to the VAL. But the buck doesn’t stop there, we still need more skilled individuals to contribute and drive our sport forward to where it should be.
What’s the future for Pro Running in Victoria?
Increasing memberships is a must. I want to generate mass participation for the future. If we do things right, we will still see the elite athletes competing in pro running, but we have a foundation that is based on participation so I’m eager to get thousands competing in pro running.
Do you enjoy watching the racing?
I love it. With the introduction of photo finish 4 years ago, it’s been hard to remove myself from an operations role at competitions but now that I’ve got a great team together, I’ve been able to attend some meetings and reengage with the people and athletes in the sport.
Any tips for the 2019 Stawell Gift?
There's been some exceptional racing and a number of standout performances across all categories this season so I think I'll leave it to the spectators to pick a winner. 


Ringwood - Entries close this Friday 22 March -


You can check the athlete entry list for all races at the Stawell Gift here
Please check to ensure you have entered the correct races.
Athletes entered in the 400m Frontmarkers and Backmarkers may be moved according to their handicap.


With only one race left in the Series to be run at Ringwood, there's still time to make the Top 10 and take your place in the final at Stawell.

Rank Athlete Points
1st Jarrod Sutton 56
2nd Macio Nash 51
3rd Christian Sapardanis 41
4th James Kerr 40
5th Hugh Hoffmann 39
6th Chiara Dickins 35
7th Alec Wiltshire 32
8th Isabella Antonino 31
9th Amy McKinley 27
10th Thomas Yeung 23
 - - -  - - -  - - -
11th Mistarz James 22
12th Jessica Burns 21
13th Caitlyn Nicholson 20
14th Matthew Noden 18
15th Halle Martin 18
16th Matt Dinan 18
17th Zed Marshall 17
18th Alex Jones 17
19th Chris Wilkinson 15
20th Harrison Williams 15
21st Darcy McConnon 15
22nd Naticia Varley 13
23rd Zoe Glassborow 11
24th Benjamin Rofe 11
25th Holly Nichols 9
26th Harrison Keeble 8
27th Matthew Standfield 8
28th Jason Blood 7
29th Ben Hugall 7
30th Darcy Ireland 6

All other athletes have 4 points or less.