Oh what a night!

HVC #1 and the club’s Christmas break up on the one night.

HVC #1

HVC was held at Box Hill in near perfect conditions.

Ilana Grandine was just 0.13s off the club’s 100m record.

Montana Beruldsen ran 2 PBs over 100m & 400m while Jacob Despard ran an equal PB in his 100m heat.

Amanda Wrout also had a very good night with a PB in the 200m.

100m: Ilana Grandine 11.70 (+0.0); Amanda Wrout 12.78 (+0.0); Montana Beruldsen 13.29 (1.9)
200m: Lily-Bella Hilli 26.13 (1.3); Amanda Wrout 26.74 (1.3); Kaylee Mangion 28.79 (1.8);
400m: Montana Beruldsen 61.47

100m: Jacob Despard 10.40 (1.6); Chris Vi 11.39 (0.6); Joshua Djatschenko 11.64 (0.3)
200m: Chris Vi 23.07 (1.6)

Christmas Gift

Meanwhile, the real action was at Aberfeldie Park where the two traditional events, the 110m Gift and the 2400m Fitzgerald Cup were run and won. The latter has been going since the 1930s and is named after a local councillor who donated a Cup to the club.

Both events were very well handicapped with Christian Knox running down the field from his back mark in the Cup.

Christian Knox- Photo by Joanna Margiolis

Back markers came through the field to take out the Gift too. Marco Spagnuolo (Scr) and Lay Kankratok (1m ) fought it out all the way with Marco winning by a half a stride.

Christmas Gift- Alyssa Stal (Essendon little athletics), Marco Spagnuolo and Lay Kankratok – Photo by Joanna Margiolis

We then had the pleasure of hearing from our Tokyo champions, Linden Hall, Liam Adams and Maria Strong. Maz also gave those present the opportunity to try the seated shot.

Liam Adam, Linden Hall and Maria Strong- Photo by Joanna Margiolis


The club has been given a dozen pairs of brand new Adidas spikes. They have been donated by Olympian and Commonwealth Games rep, Madeline Heiner (Rio 2016 and Glasgow 2014). They are all size 9. If this sounds like you, contact the club at or 0414373157

Full recap from Danny Hawksworth:

Tuesday December 14th saw a pleasant sunny day for the staging of Athletics Essendon’s Christmas Gift.  With two events on the program, it was an action packed 45 minutes of events.

The first event was the 110m handicap, with two heats and the top three runners from each heat progressing through to the final.

The line up for heat 1 was as follows:

Lane                    Name                                Mark

1                           Maria Strong                    35.5m

4                           Marco Spagnuolo           1.0m

5                           Alyssa Stal                         17.0m

6                           Ian Newey                        26.5m

9                           Kye Camilleri                    40.0m

From the gun, Marco set to work, making up the gap on those in front of him.  Maria drew level with Kye early on, then Ian Newey came through the middle to take the lead.  He was caught by Spagnuolo before the line however, with Marco taking out the heat.  Ian and Alyssa also progressed through to the final.

Heat 2 on paper read like this:

Lane                    Name                                Mark

2                           Maggie Armstrong          38.0m

3                           John Cooper                    26.5m

4                           Lay Kangratok                  1.0m

6                           Darran Hill                        20.0m

The gun was fired and Lay Kangratok chased down the big gap on the other competitors.  John Cooper made up the gap to Armstrong and looked to have the win, but was edged out by Kangratok.  Cooper and Maggie Armstrong also progressed to the final.

The final looked to be a showdown of the 2 backmarkers, Marco Spagnuolo (0.5m) and Lay Kangratok (1.0m).  It turned out to be the case, with Marco coming through for the win and John Cooper taking 3rd place in a close one. A close finish with handicaps adjusted from the heats.

After the short events were completed it was time for the Fizgerald Cup.  It was a smaller field than usual, with the event taking place only two days after the Melbourne Marathon.  Unlike the sprint events, all competitors ran the 2400m distance, but started at a particular time, rather than a set mark.

The start list was as follows:

David Jones                      3:23

Ian Newey                        3:56

Melissa Kodi                     5:30

Danny Hawksworth        6:04

Christian Knox                 7:00

The field was quite spread as Christian Knox attempted to be the first backmarker to win the event since Nick Smith 6 years ago.

After 2 laps, Ian Newey had made up the gap on David Jones and moved into the lead with a mile to go.  Danny Hawksworth caught Melissa Kodi inside the first kilometre to move into 3rd spot.  Christian Knox then caught Melissa Kodi, as he continued to make up the gap on the frontrunners.

With 600m to go, Knox passed Hawksworth, meaning there were only two possible winners of the event.  Ian Newey got the bell first, but could he hold off the fast-finishing Knox.  With 200m to go, it seemed that the gap was too big and Newey might hold on, but Knox found an extra gear with 160m to go and passed Newey in the home straight.  Christian’s actual time of 7.44 was impressive, suggesting some good results should come over 1500m/3000m in the second half of the season.

Hawksworth and Jones fought it out for third place, with Hawksworth coming through to complete the podium.

After the running was over, the club members enjoyed a BBQ, then we heard from our Tokyo reps Maria Strong (Seated Shot Put), Linden Hall (1500m) and Liam Adams (marathon).  It was a very interesting insight into competition at the International Level and we thank our Paralympic and Olympic representatives for giving up their time.