Weekly Wrap May 22nd 2024

PRESIDENT’S MESSAGE – Martin Sheppard Pres.

An exciting time for Athletics Essendon.

Member feedback

Thank you to all the athletes, coaches and volunteers who took the time to complete the questionnaire recently. It provided us with significant insights to what you would like to see within the club. From the survey, these is some of the key requests you had:

  • Environment – facilities for good training, social atmosphere within group and at club, good coaching and competition opportunities.
  • Competition priorities – State championships, National / International, Specialist groups and then AVSL / X country, in that order – excepting that each group and individual athletes have different priorities – we need to provide options for most. This is important as we need to decide the level of support we expect for the AVSL or State Championships… 
  • Coaching – more coaches to cover all events and greater knowledge of how to connect with them and what they offer. Suggestions around coach succession planning raised, with more support for coaches travel / expenses needed, so we have updated the Coach and Athlete Support Policy. 
  • Requests for improvements – larger gym, social aspects to bring groups together, lights in parklands for safer training behind track, and more blocks 
  • Encouragement, recognition and rewards for athletes, we would like to expand that to volunteers, such as Team Managers and the amazing group of regulars who set up, volunteer and pack up after our events.  

Draft Strategy

We have embraced these and other suggestions into our draft strategy and welcome your thoughts on this directly back to me. We will then embrace these suggestions and complete the strategy ready for the AGM (July 2024). Please take the time to review it here (Link to website)

New Constitution

As part of our original commitment when we came on Board at last years AGM and as part of the draft Strategy, we have been working closely with Mills Oakley (Mills Oakley Law Firm | Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Perth, Adelaide and Darwin.), who are contemporising our dated version to align it with modern ‘Rules’ for managing a community sports club like ours. They are doing this Pro-Bono and the club is exceptionally grateful for their commitment to our community and generous support in guiding us on these steps to allow us to prepare for the next stage of the clubs vision and growth.   We will provide a draft to the members following which a vote will be held at the AGM. 

New and Updated Policies and Procedures.

Again, as part of the upgrade of our systems we have started the process of writing and/or upgrading our procedures and they will start to be seen on time over the next few months on the web portal. These procedures are here to support the club, the committee and to ensure that we can have the right systems in place for next generation of people who want to guide and grow the club into an even more successful club.

With the support of Sports Integrity Australia and the Australian Sports Commission, who have developed modern templates we have embraced and started aligning them for our needs. The first few will include:

  • Safeguarding Children and Young People Policy.
  • Member Protection Policy.
  • A.E Committee Guidebook.
  • Coaching Charter (update).
  • Athlete and Coach Support Policy (approved).

Committee 24/25

At the AGM we will be looking for a wide range of members to join us next year, with an emphasis on young and diverse members. So if you are interested please reach out to either Bec (Club Secretary) or myself to have a chat about your interest. 

We are entering a new period and we are keen to encourage new people to be part of that journey and bring the skills that people may have to our club. We are looking for people who are keen to help the Club achieve success.

Please CLICK HERE if you would like to read the new Athletics in Essendon strategy. 

SAVE THE DATE – Athletics Essendon AGM is scheduled for July 14, 2024.  Please come along & have your say in the future of the Club.

AE had 30 finishers at Hanging Rock, 11 open & masters athletes & 19 juniors.  This is a brand new event location & with some welcome sunshine, firm ground that wasn’t affected by mud or puddles, next to no breeze & much excitement among many starters, this was an ideal track for cross country!  The course was quite challenging in some parts, with a few short steep uphills & some twisting & turning around the base of Hanging Rock.  There were also some sections of the race that we actually ran on the thoroughbred race track which is famous for the Hanging Rock picnic horse racing meets but thankfully there were no horses on course, just plenty of kangaroos!

There was three courses on offer – 5k, 7k or 12k.  Female 18, 16 & 14 ran the 5km, while F20, M20 & 18 raced the 7km & the open & masters athletes could choose to tackle the 7 or 12k course.

Top 10 Individual Performances

  • Bianca Puglisi – 2nd – Open Female, 12km, 44:36 – congrats Bianca on your first XCR Open podium finish!
  • Lara Sacaner – 3rd – F20, 7km, 27:41
  • Charlotte Jackson – 9th – F20, 7km, 29:30
  • Charlie Barrett – 4th – M20, 7km, 22:44
  • Jonty Neethling – 1st – M18, 7km, 22:50
  • Aidan Davis – 8th – M18, 7km, 24:21
  • Noah Tarallo – 4th – M16, 5km, 17:16
  • Miles Thompson – 8th – M16, 5km, 17:44
  • Isabelle Kays – 3rd – F16, 5km, 19:58
  • Riddhi Mehta – 10th – F16, 5km, 22:05
  • Isabella Howley – 6th – F14, 5km, 20:40
  • Philip Barrett – 1st – M50, 7km, 28:05
  • Janine Higham – 4th – F60+, 7km, 37:20
  • Damien Bruneau – 7th – M45, 12km, 45:33
  • Jeff Jones – 10th – M50, 12km, 50:40

All Team Performances

  • Female Open Div 2 – 8th 
  • Male Open Div 2 – 13th
  • F20 (1) – 1st
  • F20 (2) – 12th
  • M20 – 3rd
  • F18 – 4th
  • M18 – 3rd
  • F16 – 3rd
  • M16 (1) – 1st
  • M16 (2) – 15th
  • F14 – 6th

We had 4 juniors making their XCR debut & they all performed well especially as this was a challenging first-time race for them being such an undulating cross country but they should be very proud of their results! We look forward to following your season Samual Duncan (M20), William Tranter (M18), Miles Thompson (M16) & Isabella Howley (F14). Well done to all 30 finishers & XCR season ‘24 is looking like it’s going to be a ripper!!

Round 3 is on the roads for the first time this season, with the Lakeside Road Race, Sunday June 3 at Albert Park Lake.  Entries close at midday on Wednesday May 29.

Compiled by Stephen Murphy – with thanks

Athletics Essendon needs you! With only 3 or possibly 4 rounds of AVSL being conducted at MVAC next season, we desperately require 2 volunteers to assist with the oversight of set up (11am-1pm) & pack up (4.30pm – 6pm) – one for each end of the day.  This role comes with hands-on training, a written set of simple notes, club support from John Cooper & of course, endless gratitude!!  Put simply, if you are not scared to give directions & can get along with a small but enthusiastic crew then this job can be managed by anyone over 18 & just may be for you!  

Please contact John on 0414 373 157 or email for any further questions.

LIAM ADAMS – Olympic Campaign, Paris 2024

Our very own two-time Olympian, Liam Adams who qualified 74/80 in the world in the men’s marathon event & was bound for Paris, is now fighting for a berth in the Australian team after World Athletics reconsidered their selection process & replaced 11 qualifiers with ‘universality places’.  Liam is fighting hard to be reinstated onto the start line for the Olympic marathon & if you would like to help his cause & be a voice of support, you can sign the petition HERE & help to get our much-deserved Club legend back where he belongs.

Many of you will be familiar with the tall, weathered, athletic frame of Mark around the MVAC track as he enthusiastically shouts encouragement & cues to his middle-distance athletes.  He’s been a AE Club stalwart coach & athlete for the past 8 years & has had much success with his small but mighty squad, with his members achieving continual state & national success. He has trained & been mentored with some of the best in the business, is a level 3 IAAF level coach & has decades of coaching experience.  Mark is never too busy to have a chat or offer advice if asked & so it is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye & wish him all the best as he makes the move over to Keilor St Bernard’s Athletic Club. 

Each year, Athletics Australia (AA) invite a number of select, top-performing juniors to participate in their Target Talent Program which is a state-based talent pathway that aims to recognise & assist each state’s best athletes to develop a deeper knowledge of nutrition, conditioning, psychology, injury rehabilitation & training principles to further their success in their chosen track or field event.  The ‘24/’25 squad saw a number of talented Aths Essendon juniors selected & we would like to congratulate each of them on their recognition & wish them every success in the TTP Squad.

  • Ella Leith – Combined Events
  • Mackenzie Leith – Combined Events
  • Maddox Wilson (Travis Wilson) – Combined Events
  • Charles Barrett (Charlotte Wilson) – Endurance
  • Jonty Neethling (Charlotte Wilson) – Endurance
  • Finley Symons (Gregor Gojrzewski) – Endurance
  • James Cruse (Charlotte Wilson) – Endurance
  • Raven Alwis (Alwyn Jones) – Long Jump
  • Jamison Towers – Hurdles
  • Sukhnoor Rangi (Bill Georgantas) – Pole Vault
  • Khushnoor Rangi (Bill Georgantas) – Pole Vault
  • Sophia Gregorevic (Steve Gaffney) – Sprints
  • Luca Sebastiano (Max Warlow) – Sprints

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is anything we missed, by sending our secretary Rebecca an email at