On Saturday night the inaugural Essendon Gift kicked off the 2022/23 Victorian Athletic League season. With a huge 475 entries it was an action-packed evening. This event also marked the club’s first competition back at the Moonee Valley Athletics Centre since it was closed to flooding last month.
Live entertainment from Shane Ezard set the atmosphere for the evening, whilst the BBQ and refreshments ensured the event was enjoyed by spectators just as much as the competitors. The new floodlights which had been installed by the Moonee Valley City Council earlier this year played an important role in this event being the club’s first twilight event in a number of years.
It was wonderful to see a large group of spectators come out to show support for the Gift, including past and present club members, members from Essendon Little Athletics Centre as well as our local members of state parliament, Danny Pearson MP and Ben Carroll MP.
It was fantastic to see athletes from U14 through to Masters battling it out across distances ranging from 70m to 1600m. There was an extremely high level of competition across all events and we’d like to congratulate the following athletes on their wins:
200m Men – Chris Vi
200m Women – Romona Casey
70m Men – Michael Romero
70m Women – Romona Casey
100m U14 Mixed – Harry Mcdonough
100m U18 Mixed – Max Quinn
100m Masters – Scott Rowsell
300m Masters – Chris Lim
550m Open – Alex Jones
800m Masters 45+ – Carl McMeel
1600m Open – Glenn McMillan
We’d like to thank our wonderful sponsors for supporting this event, without them this event wouldn’t have been possible. Thank you to: Benton’s Plumbing Supplies, Element Rigging, Essendon Sports Medicine, FitLearngin, McDonald Upton, Moonee Ponds Plumbing and Bathrooms, Speed Clinic, Star Displays, The Osteopathic Clinic, Walk To Your Blocks Podcast, Arron Downs, Alvin and Sharon Fairley, Belinda McLeod on behalf of Barry McLeod, Brian Wright, David and Tom Griffin, Jenny Poole, John Henry, Les Williams and Peter O’Farrell.
Events like these don’t just happen and there a number of acknowledgments that need to be made. A massive thank you to Dom Condello for working tirelessly behind the scenes over the past few months to coordinate the entire event and for all the hard work to ensure the meet stayed on track throughout the evening. A big thank you also needs to go to Joel Cuzzi for assisting with on day coordination, setup/packup and for doing an incredible job with the BBQ. Thank you to Jack Walsh and Adrian Wrout for assisting with the BBQ and bar throughout the evening. Special thanks to Stella McNamara and Vishnu Satish for managing the entry gate. Thanks to Christian Knox for working hard at the popcorn machine to meet the high demand. We’d also like to thank Kim Walsh for assisting in the lead-up to the event and for assisting on the day in various roles. From everyone at home, a big thank you goes to Graeme Baynes for providing a wonderful live stream for those who couldn’t attend in person. Thanks also to Joanna Margiolis for providing marketing and media support in the lead up to the event and on the day, as well as assisting with setup. Thank you to Andy Boudrie for also assisting with on day media and with packup. Thanks also to John Cooper for assisting with setting up and packup. Our wonderful signage wouldn’t have been possible without the support from Daryl Lawrence and the team at Star Displays.
This event wouldn’t have been possible without the wonderful support of Taylah Perry and the fantastic team at the Victorian Athletic League (VAL). Best of luck to all those competing throughout the 2022/23 pro running season.