Almanac Athletics: The Ringwood Gift – A quarter mile worth remembering.

The Ringwood Gift has been run and won.

In an unusual turn of events, the traditional Gift distance of 120 metres was replaced by a sizzling 400 metre race.

Whilst not the norm in pro racing, it was the turn of the one lap specialists to take centre stage and command “Gift” level prizemoney.

With quarter-mile races normally attracting purses that are on average less than $1000, the $4000 prizemoney on offer at Ringwood, ensured the best “pro” 400 metre runners in Victoria, stepped up to the plate.

In ideal running conditions, Greg Mitchell, running off the mark of 25 metres, took the sash with a well-timed and tough run from the fast finishing and super consistent Lawrence Coop, and the unlucky Ian Cayzer, who finished third for the second time in seven days.

Being run on a synthetic track and with a super-fast time of 45.87 seconds, Mitchell found the inside running and showed a fantastic turn of speed with 50 metres to go, and fully deserved his win.

In the ladies 300 metres, the ever improving Meg Deane, running off 29 metres, won in a time of 39.23 from the slick Tara Domaschenz.

With a focus of the running world on the traditional gift distance of 120 metres, the circular track races like 300s and 400s, are in many ways considered a highlight of a professional running meeting.

With all runners racing in one lane, and with staggered handicap starts, these races highlight not only a spectacle of super running but aggression, tactics and an ability to find gaps between heaving bodies, whilst maintaining the gut wrenching speed that a 400 or 300 metre race commands.

Whilst many fans of pro running like the speed and explosive power of a 120 metre gift race, the 400 metre events offer guile, toughness and something very different.

For the likes of Greg Mitchell, the 400 metres offers a Gift win that can never be taken away.

About David Griffin

Lover of coffee, sport and human endeavour. A writer and life enthusiast with a shameless admiration for dogged persistent people that get 'stuff' done.

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