CONFIDENT: SA Athetlics League president Brendan Golden.
Bay Sheff on track to become Australia's richest foot race
by Alice Monfries
12 January 2011
ORGANISERS of the Bay Sheffield are on a mission to make this year’s event - the sprint’s 125th running - Australia’s richest foot race.
The two-day 2010 Glenelg carnival wrapped up on December 28, but plans are already underway to boost prize money and attract more runners to this year’s event.
SA Athletics League (SAAL) President Brendan Golden said doubling the prize money to more than $100,000 would just eclipse the total purse on offer at the Stawell Gift Easter carnival in Victoria and overtake it as the nation’s most prominent sprint race.
“We already have the biggest crowds and we’re currently the athletes’ favourite carnival but we want the number one mantle to put it beyond dispute,” he said.
“To officially be the biggest, we need more prize money and we need more heats for our major race - so that means more runners.”
“We feel the bigger prize money will do enough to attract more runners, particularly those interstate.”
Mr Golden said the SAAL had been “actively recruiting” more entrants for the carnival, held at Colley Reserve on December 27-28, by introducing under-17 and under-14 race categories.
“We brought that in two years ago and we’re starting the reap the benefits from that now and it will keep snowballing,” he said.
Mr Golden said the SAAL was “quietly confident” of raising the extra $50,000 prize money, through sponsorship and a black-tie dinner in August to celebrate the race’s 125th anniversary.
“The prize money will get more athletes to the carnival, which will help us to better promote it and it will get a better return for our sponsors,” he said.
Meantime, Mr Golden said between 3000 and 5000 spectators turned out at last month’s carnival, which had a record 746 entrants.
“Crowd numbers were up on previous years and we ran out of beer with 10 minutes to go, which is always a good indication - we’ve never done that before,” he said.
“We had a record number of athletes which was always going to get more people down there.”
Brighton Secondary School student Jordan Caldow, 17, became the second-youngest runner to win the prestigious race when he crossed the line first in the final last month.