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PROTRACK » GENERAL » Rich Gippsland Gift in February to replace Woodside

Rich Gippsland Gift in February to replace Woodside

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After one year, Woodside appears gone, but hopefully will be replaced by the Gippsland Gift in February.

Gift for Gippsland
Latrobe Valley Express
06 Jun, 2011

The Latrobe Valley could soon be home to the richest foot race in the southern hemisphere.

The inaugural Gippsland Gift will be run at Traralgon Recreation Reserve in February and organisers are hoping to offer a major prize purse upwards of $80,000.

This will double that of the Stawell Gift, which currently stands as Australia's most lucrative short distance running race.

The Gippsland Gift will replace the Woodside Gift on the 2011-12 Victorian Athletic League calendar and look to build on the success of that event, which was recently voted the 2010-11 VAL Meeting of the Year by the Victorian Runners and Trainer's Association.

Crocmedia events director Clint Hillas said the aim was to make the Gippsland Gift the "biggest sporting event in Gippsland".

"There are no gifts in Gippsland and we think there is a real opportunity to attract people from everywhere in the region," Mr Hillas said.

"From site inspections the ground looks very good and we believe Traralgon is probably the heartland sporting precinct in the Latrobe Valley."

According to Mr Hillas, last year's drawcard, 2008 Olympic silver medallist Sally Pearson, had indicated her desire to return for the Gippsland Gift, and he said the financial incentive would likely draw "a number of top line athletes" to the event.

The event is still to secure a major sponsor, but Mr Hillas said he was confident of obtaining the necessary support to challenge the Stawell Gift.

The two-day event will be held on Saturday and Sunday, 25 and 26 February and will include 120 metre gifts for men and women, a celebrity race, and races for the fastest footballer and netballer in Gippsland.

Mr Hillas said despite suggestions of staging a twilight event, racing would be held over two days with finals run on the Sunday afternoon to ensure as many people as possible could attend.

Latrobe City Council acting manager cultural livability Jason Membrey said the event would have a positive impact on the Latrobe Valley.

"It's another significant sporting event coming to the region and it will have economic benefits as well as engaging the local community," Mr Membrey said.

Mr Membrey said while it was only "early days" council considered the Gippsland Gift a "long term event" for the Latrobe Valley.



Race tipped to inject big cash gift
Posted June 13, 2011

The Latrobe City Council expects next year's Traralgon Gift foot race will inject up to $500,000 into the local economy.

The race was held at Woodside, south of Sale, last year, but the next Gift will be held in Traralgon in February.

The Wellington Shire Council says it is disappointed the organisers have decided to move the race from Woodside.

David Elder from the Latrobe City Council says the council is excited about hosting the next race.

"If the numbers even match what they were last year, and we anticipate they'll be higher, we expect that the economic impact will be in the vicinity of $450,000 to $500,000," he said.



Gippsland Gift to take on Stawell

By Celine Foenander
ABC - Gippsland
7th June 2011

The organiser of a new regional footrace is aiming to knock the Stawell Gift off its perch as the richest and most prestigious event of its type in Australia. The Gippsland Gift will be run in Traralgon in February.

Clint Hillas, the Director of East Coast Events, one of the companies behind the new footrace, is hoping a larger purse will woo the top athletes from Australia and around the world, to Traralgon.

The race is cleverly positioned in the summer running season, before the Stawell Gift which is usually held each Easter.

"It's six weeks out from the Stawell Gift, so it's a great one in terms of the athletes and their preparation," Clint Hillas told ABC Gippsland's Mornings Program.

"We want to offer a great amount of prizemoney. Without coming out with any figures, the Stawell Gift, I think the first prize the guy took home $40,000. I think that would be more than a great starting point for us.

"Certainly the Stawell Gift's in our eyes. We're coming after you."

The Stawell Gift is hardly a casualty in this new footrace rivalry, but there is at least one community feeling a little left out of the equation.

The Gippsland Gift will replace the Woodside Gift which was held for the first time in that small community, near Yarram, before Christmas.

"Not doubt there'll be a little bit of disappointment. I still have a good connection with the community, I actually play football down there," Clint Hillas said.

"The Woodside Gift was a great success and the people were wonderful and certainly the support from everyone around Gippsland, in terms of coming into Woodside was terrific."

The Woodside Gift attracted about 500 athletes but Clint Hillas said there was difficulty in providing accommodation and social opportunities for the visitors.

He said the more central venue in Traralgon would only enhance the event.

The Gippsland Gift will be held on February 25-26.


Not that I want to put a "dampener" on this event, but I truly think that the organisers are "biting off more than they can chew".

Firstly, a 2 day event ????

The only other 2 day events (Bendigo & Ballarat) hardly draw a crowd over the two days and they are in the two biggest cities outside of Melbourne.

Once again, a relatively new club wants to be bigger than the Stawell Easter Gift and sadly from my experiences, they don't hang around for long.

Advertising a $80,000 race without a major sponsor is not the right way to go. Remember what happened down at Woodside last year when the first winners of the day were "short changed" when they went to collect their prizemoney. Luckily they were told of their error and all was ok after that.

Morwell, Traralgon & Moe all had good events back through the 1970 - 80s and they all had moderate prizemoney on offer.

Many a successful Gift meeting has started from a small prizemoney base and over the years have built on their success and have grown steadily.

It is good to see that the interest has been re kindled in the Gippsland area, but baby steps are needed before one gets up and runs.

Matthew Webster


I agree Matthew. Apart from Stawell , no meeting warrants 2 days if there is running only. Our costs are great enough as it is for the year, without paying accomodation. Only a small number of the competitors are any real chance of taking home the real dollars. All 2 days  does is end up costing you entries.

Y Fix it

Agree with matt webster.

Didnt Woodside win meet of the year?

If aint broke, why fix it?

Stick with Woodside and consolidate it on the calendar before stuffing around with it.


They are moving the event to where it can attract more sponsors, crowds and money.

They have a vision!

Its a shame other clubs don't take notice.


That's fine ,but it only warrants a one day event.

Not Sure

It's good to have a vision and think big but realistically these grand plans never work in the long term.

Better to build it over time.


I'm going to run a meet at Port Fairy and offer $100k, I'll make it bigger than Stawell and the Bay Sheffield put together. I want Usain Bolt there so we'll see what he wants. While I'm at it this Veronica Campbell-Brown chick will be there once she find out how good my meet will be. We'll run it over a Friday night with the heats and have Saturday night with the finals. Marching girls, brass bands, fireworks display, we'll be on Foxtel, live radio & internet feed, AFL players race worth 20 grand, backmarkers worth 20 grand....big plans! blah blah blah.......

Heard it all before.

This guy running Gippsland needs a massive hit over the scone with the reality hammer.


ProTrack Star
ProTrack Star
Clint Hillas is working for Crocmedia in developing this event. Crocmedia is owned by Craig 'Hutchy' Hutchinson so I reckon he just might have a few connections and the ability to raise some decent coin and put on a great event. I still think the event should be at an inner Melbourne venue to be truly successful.

Be Posit

There's is nothing wrong with a big gift in the gippsland.

But the planning should be for at least 5 years, they need to put up prize money that can be sustained for at least 5 years. It takes time/yeras to build a meeting and engage the runners.

One year wonders don't work. Hopefull the VAL have explained that to them?


Looks like the Woodside people are far from happy with this move to Traralgon. Clearly a lot of work went into it by the Woodside community and now the rug's been pulled from under them. May not be the last we've heard of it.

Traralgon gift grab

Gippsland Times
09 Jun, 2011

Rich Gippsland Gift in February to replace Woodside 1277029
The Woodside community and sponsors are upset
that the Woodside Gift has been moved to Traralgon.

A GIFT given to Woodside has been taken to Traralgon.
The Gippsland Gift will replace the Woodside Gift, which was held for the first and only time last December, on the Victorian Athletics League calendar.

The new event will be held at the Traralgon Recreation Reserve on February 25 and 26, better scheduled to attract runners preparing for the Stawell Gift.

Event organiser Clint Hillas said the move wasn’t made lightly, but having accommodation and restaurants close by was a major factor in Traralgon securing the event.

“We won the meeting of the year at Woodside, we were happy to be there, but the feedback we got was to get it closer to accommodation and have smaller travel times,’’ he said.

“There are too many pros with moving it to Traralgon.”

The Woodside Gift attracted about 500 athletes and 1800 patrons despite rain earlier in the day.

Among the star attractions of the day were 2008 Olympic silver medallist Sally Pearson and dual AFL Brownlow Medallist Robert Harvey.

Hillas said the change would also boost the athletics carnival’s bid to rival the Stawell Gift as Australia’s richest footrace.

The loss of the gift to Traralgon delivers a cruel blow for the Woodside Recreation Reserve committee and Woodside Football-Netball Club members who spent many hundreds of volunteer hours preparing the ground for the athletics carnival.

Their disappointment is compounded by the fact the event was voted the best event on the athletics calendar by the Victorian Runners and Trainers Association.

Similarly it is a blow to a number of the event’s sponsors, who only found out about the change of venue when Mr Hillas made the shock announcement in an interview on local ABC radio.

Wellington Shire Council, which contributed $10,000 sponsorship to last year’s event, has expressed disappointment the event has been moved out of the shire without notice or consultation, as the council had been led to believe the Woodside Gift would be an ongoing event.

Mayor Jeff Amos described the move away from Woodside as a devastating blow to that community and Yarram.

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