2012 Stawell champion backs Warrnambool, Terang gifts
Nov. 29, 2013
STAWELL Gift winner Matthew Wiltshire has thrown his support behind a south-west sprint double-header.
The Ballarat runner will compete in the Warrnambool and Terang gifts this weekend as he looks to kick-start his pro running season.
Warrnambool last ran a gift in 2000, while Terang is preparing for its seventh consecutive running of the 120-metre sprint.
Both events are part of the Victorian Athletic League calendar.
“It’s a good initiative bringing Warrnambool into the pro running circuit,” Wiltshire said.
“It draws more numbers that way and it’s good to have a double-header first up to see how everyone is travelling. It’s always good to see a gift back. The Peninsula Gift came back in 2012 and I was fortunate to win that.”
Support for the Saturday and Sunday double-header is reflected in the Terang Gift’s entry increase.
It has attracted 290 entries — up 70 on 2012.
“Because it is a fair distance from the Melbourne area, they think ‘is it worth it?’, but this will definitely bring more people,” Wiltshire said.
“I did the Terang Gift for the first time last year and it was an enjoyable experience.”
Wiltshire’s aim this weekend is to make a final of one of the gifts and perform strongly in the 70m events.
He said it was harder to win gifts now he was a backmarker running off 3.75m.
He said winning a second Stawell Gift next year would be a tough ask. His sights are set on either the Ballarat or Maryborough gifts.
“I have won a 70m (run) at Ballarat. It was awesome because my family was there and the local community. To win that gift is something I’d like to do.”
Wiltshire won the 2012 Stawell Gift in 12.22 seconds from Melbourne’s Doug Greenough and former Pomborneit runner Adam Coote. He said winning the esteemed race was a life-changer.
“The hype hasn’t worn off. I don’t think it ever will. It’s fantastic being known as a Stawell Gift winner.”
Wiltshire wants to move into amateur running. His long-term goal is running the 200m at the Olympics.
Last edited by youngy on Sat Nov 30, 2013 9:11 am; edited 1 time in total