The On Victorian Milers Club returned to Melbourne’s west with Athletics Essendon, hosting Meet 4 which featured the John Higham 800m and the 107th Men’s and 20th Women’s Victorian Mile Championships. With fantastic weather and over 400 entries, it was a perfect evening for fast times and to celebrate the events. With a beautiful sunset casting a golden light across the Moonee Valley Athletics Centre it truly was a picture-perfect twilight event.
The ‘Higham 800m’ event is hosted in memory of John Higham OAM. John was a 4 time Australian champion (3 over 800m and one over 400m). He also won bronze with the 4x400m relay team at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. He was selected for the 1980 Moscow Olympics but didn’t compete because of the Australian boycott. His 800m PB of 1:45.7 is still one of the all time fastest by an Australian. John was President of Essendon-EMH (now Athletics Essendon) and the Commonwealth Games board Victoria division. John passed away in October 2019 at 67 years of age. The Higham family sponsored the ‘A’ races and presented cheques to the winners, Rochelle Kennedy (Western Athletics) and Mitch Langborne (Keilor St Bernard’s). Mitch won in a slick 1:51.13 while Rochelle’s time was 2:06.05.
The 2023 Men’s Victorian Mile Championships was won by Matthew Hussey (Western Athletics) in 4:01.39, from fast finishing Archie Noakes (4:01.63) and Luke Shaw (4:01.69). The Women’s race was won by Piper Gay (Williamstown Athletics Club) in 4:48.41.
This year saw three Essendon athletes, Archie Noakes (U20), Charles Barrett (U16) and Anna Kasapis (40+) feature in the A mile races. Charles ran a great race to finish 9th in 4:09.79. Archie’s time may be a club U20 record while former Australian Open champion Anna broke the Victorian W45 mile record with her time of 5:01.35.
With 39 athletes competing in the red & black of Essendon across both the 800m and mile, it was a fantastic turnout for Essendon athletes for our first home milers competition in 13 years. Congratulations to Saana Jayasinghe, Vanessa D’Andrea, and Lara Sacaner on winning their respective races.
Whilst there were plenty of Essendon representatives on the track it was fantastic to see the club represented off the track too with Arthur Whitchell and Margaret Crowley welcoming the Mile ‘A’ race athletes. A big thank you to Christian Knox for working hard throughout the evening as a pacer for a number of races.
Congratulations to the following athletes on recording PB or SB:
800m: Jannick Ernst 1:56.83 PB, Chase Jardine 2:35.30 PB, Charlotte Jackson 2:23.33 PB Saana Jayasinghe 2:32.16 PB, Gray 2:40.44 PB, Rebecca Perilli 2:35.14 PB, Vanessa D’Andrea 2:28.8 SB, Audrey Savage 2:26.82 SB, Jayme-Lee Cobain 2:26.09 PB, Alexis Shead 2:23.12, Emily Mifsud 2:19.25 PB, Lara Sacaner 2:16.52 PB, Dylan Rowbottom 2:18.54 SB, Darcy Parker 2:19.87, Lucas Harris 2:14.12 PB, Oscar Lichter 2:08.20 PB, Sam Meehan 2:09.16 PB, Riley Walsh 2:04.00PB
Mile: Jonathan Neethling 4:32.09 PB, Noah Tarallo 4:51.79 PB, Harry PB, Charlie Blanch 4:50.15 PB.
Events such as these don’t occur without a lot of planning and support. A big thank you to On for supporting the Victorian Milers Club for the 2022/23 season. We’d like to thank Athletics Exclusive for live streaming the event and to Tim Crosbie for being a fantastic commentator. A special thank you the Higham family for sponsoring the ‘Higham 800m’ races.
It has been a number of years since Melbourne’s west has hosted the Victorian Milers Club and a special acknowledgement and big thanks needs to be given to John Cooper for negotiating to have the John Higham 800m and Victorian Mile Championships hosted at the Moonee Valley Athletics Centre.
Thanks to Ian Sloan for coordinating the event and to the following Essendon members for assisting with setup, timekeeping and the BBQ: John Cooper, David Jones, Arthur Whitchell, Duncan Knox, Aaron Downes, Joanna Margiolis, Adrian Fitzgerald, Tony Spagnuolo, Joel Cuzzi, Brian Anderson, Domenic Condello and Andrew Boudrie.
Thanks to Matthew Millington for videography and to Joanna Margiolis for event photography.