MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT
It is Christmas Eve! I cannot believe that 2019 is almost over.
Wishing everyone a safe and happy Christmas break. Enjoy the Christmas/New Year races in whatever state you are in and be safe on the roads. Going fast should be saved for the running track!
See you in 2020!
WHAT'S CLOSING SOON?
Rye - Entries close THIS FRIDAY 27 December - Enter here
St Albans - Entries close Friday 3 January - Enter here
Wangaratta - Entries close Friday 10 January - Enter here
Maribyrnong - Entries close Friday 10 January - Enter here
Parkdale - Entries close Friday 17 January - Enter here
Ballarat - Entries close Friday 24 January - Enter here
MESSAGE FROM THE STEWARDS
Athletes and Coaches please note the following message from the VAL stewarding panel
VAL rule 11.16
Any Athlete who sustains an injury or illness during an event, which prevents the athlete from running to the best of their ability or is unable to take their place in a semi final or final for similar reasons, MAY incur a suspension of 28 days.
The decision as to a suspension being applied is solely at the discretion of the stewarding panel.
It would be considered highly likely that an injury sustained at Waverley on the 15th of December would need a term of suspension for adequate recuperation, preventing an athlete from competing until at least the new year.
DISCOUNT FOR NEW ATHLETES
New Athlete - 2 Meeting Permit
The Victorian Athletic League is excited to introduce a new type of membership for the reminder of the VAL season 2019/20.
This is a Two Meeting Race Permit for NEW athletes who have never competed on the VAL circuit, nor any other related professional league circuit.
The conditions are:
- This permit allows new athletes to register with the VAL for a cost of $20 plus race entry fee.
- The new athlete is able to compete at any two VAL meetings e.g. Parkdale and Ballarat (excludes Stawell).
- The two-race permit excludes the Stawell Gift.
- Athletes who wish to compete in more than two events or the Stawell Gift must pay the remainder of the membership.
- Athlete must enter the code 'NEWVAL' in the discount code box when checking out.
Message to Runners and Trainers within the VAL
The VAL is promoting this new membership through a number of mediums e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, existing AA coaches, clubs and venues.
The VAL can only do so much in its promotion, as a result, we are urging existing VAL Runners and Trainers to invite fellow athletes who have not yet tried the pro running experience. The sport is often built on those already in it, so go out of your way and “Bring a Friend” to try our great sport.
If an athlete wins then they are eligible for all of the same benefits of existing athletes provided their membership is then paid in full.
Existing VAL Clubs should use this opportunity to encourage local athletes to participate at your event e.g. Local Athletics, Football, Netball, Soccer, Basketball clubs etc.
FAST MONEY IN BALLARAT
- Women's Gift: The fastest runners (based on metres per second from the raw heat times) will share in an additional $1500 prize money.
- Men's Gift: The fastest runners (based on metres per second from the raw heat times) will share in an additional $1500 prize money.
- Masters Athletes (35+) 300m $2000 on offer
- Junior Dash for Sash (Under 6 to Under 16 100m, 400m & 800m) Prizes to be won. Entry forms available at www.ballaratgift.com/junior-gift
- Women's 4x200m Relay and Men's 4x200m Relay - $10 per team, enter on the day. Teams need to be from the same stable with a registered trainer.
BRIAN MORGAN - By David Griffin
Professional foot running and the Stawell Gift in particular, has a habit of creating legends.
Whilst most are found wearing spikes pounding the Central Park grass, some are hidden amongst the crowd, casting a skilled eye over those that run.
Having first walked through Stawell’s Central Park gates way back in 1951, Brian Morgan is one of those legends.
The 91-year-old Ringwood Gift stalwart has forgotten more about the pro game that most will ever know and recalls his first year in the game as if it was yesterday.
“My very first run was at the Maribyrnong greyhounds in 1951”.
“They used to have races at the greyhounds every Tuesday night and they ran pro races in between the dog races. It was a great time and very popular”, Morgan said.
For a brief time Morgan balanced competing with coaching.
“My focus was on the people I coached really, although I did win the 70 meters at Northcote”.
“I raced the shorter distances earlier in the day because I wanted to focus on coaching later in the day”.
“I didn’t win at Stawell, the closest I got was a 3rd in the 70 meters. I was probably a better coach than I was runner anyway and I devoted more time to that over the years”.
His greatest moment at Stawell was in 1994 when Rod Lewis saluted in the Stawell Gift.
Lewis held out a fast finishing Steve Brimacombe who ran off Scratch.
“Lewis winning was my greatest thrill. He wasn’t the favorite going into the race but ran very well off the 7.5 meter mark”.
“I have been lucky really. Jarrod Meagher another of my athletes ran in the Stawell Gift final three times. He was a very good runner.
John DeCoite was another athlete trained by Morgan who was roundly acknowledged as one of the best Pro runners of any era.
DeCoite made the final of Stawell in 1981 and was narrowly beaten into 3rd place when Scotsman George McNeill won. He was also an Australian sprint champion.
In the 68 years since Morgan first took the journey up to Stawell, he has seen the best come and go.
“I have seen a lot of great runners but the best run I ever saw was in 1975 when Jean Louis Ravelomanantsoa won”.
“He ran 12.0 on a rain sodden track from scratch and I will never forget it.
“It’s a good story because Ravelo nearly went home before the heats when he realized that it was a handicap race. He didn’t know he was starting behind other runners. He obviously stayed and its ended up being one of the great stories out of the Stawell Gift”.
“I also liked Bill Howard and John Stoney, they were great runners”.
Howard won Back to back Stawell Gifts in 1966 and ’67, and Stoney was runner up to Barney Ewell in the 1950 world sprint championship.
Morgan admits to seeing the sport change a lot over the years.
“It was very popular years ago, its different these days and its seems to have lost its prestige a bit. You never really see it in the paper at all and back in the day it was always in the paper”.
“The stewards were also tougher. They aren’t as tough now. If you didn’t run up to expectation you were suspended with no argument to be had”.
“Suspensions and fines were given out weekly and you don’t see that these days”.
Morgan was also heavily involved in football and after retiring as a player, was a driving force in the formation of the North Ringwood Football club in 1967.
Aussie rules was a popular place to spot running talent and many of Morgan’s athletes came from football.
“I trained well over 150 athletes over the years. A lot came from football, some stayed a long time, and some disappeared”.
“I think I have trained winners at every major running carnival in Victoria over my time”.
Morgan is also responsible for the establishment of the Ringwood Gift 41 years ago.
“I have enjoyed the sport, its kept me healthy and I have got to know a lot of people”.
“I almost died having an operation earlier this year. If I wasn’t for my running and being fit they told me I wouldn’t have survived, so Pro running has kept me alive you might say”.