Almanac Pro-running: Maryborough Gift – an Aussie tradition

A time- honoured tradition was run and won on a hot and humid New Year’s Day in the central Victorian town of Maryborough.

The 155th running of the Maryborough Gift was won by 26 year old West Australian Dylan Panizza in a slick time of 12.68 seconds.

Running of a handicap mark of 7.75 metres, Panizza’s blistering finish to the 120 metre sprint proved too much for his competitors as he surged over the line to take the $8000 first prize.

Second in the gift was Victorian Noddy Angelakos and third went to New South Welshman Michael Kember.

Panizza was in good form leading up to the event after making the final at the Bay Sheffield Gift meeting in Adelaide last week and couldn’t contain his excitement after his victory.

“It just feels excellent and I am really happy with the win,” he said.

“I have put so much time into it, so to win a prestigious gift like this one means everything to me”.

When asked about the prizemoney, he was quick to reply with a laugh, “I will probably save it, although I do need a couple of new shirts”.

A former Claremont Colts player in the WAFL, Panizza’s father is well known Claremont footballing identity and WA Hall of Fame member Daryl Panizza.

Daryl played 274 games for the WAFL club and is the club games record holder.

In other events on the day, the women’s Gift was won by Eliza Wilson coming off the mark of 4.75 metres, whilst Tierra Exum, the twin sister of Aussie NBA star Dante Exum, won the 70 metres.

First run in 1857 and billed as the oldest continuous running event in Australia, the Maryborough Gift features a Scottish highland theme which provides a unique flavour to an amazing day of athletics.

Two hours’ drive north of Melbourne and with historical roots born out of the goldfields in country Victoria, the Maryborough event is rivalled only by the Stawell Gift and with age on its side, is arguably Australia’s most historically significant sports event.

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.


  1. YEP, David the Maryborough Gift meeting is the longest-running sports event held continuously anywhere in Oz.
    Many’s the time I’ve sunk into a cold bath late evening NY day after covering the Princes Park meeting for the Bendigo Addy. NY Day could be sweltering in M’borough.
    We still have somewhere a silver cup — silver, not plated — my great granddad won in the 1870s at the Maryborough carnival. The Girl on the Drum dance is an integral part of the day plus the “heavy” games: caber toss, hammer throw, throwing the weight.
    Incidentally, the Maryborough Gift is now known as the Max Martin Memorial M’borough Gift in memory of long-serving Highlands Games secretary Max, who was also secretary of the Maryboro-Castlemaine DFL for many decades.

  2. It’s a wonderful Gift. Love that ground, love the setting, love that part ofVictoria.
    What was the surface like? 12.68 sounds sluggish?

  3. Cat from the Country says

    This is my home now.
    Been here 9 years and the District for 37 years.
    The Girl on the Drum is still as exciting now as it was when I first saw it 48 years ago.

  4. Hello Dips.
    Thanks for your message.
    The time was sluggish but the track was a tad lush and softish.
    The was some very good racing during the day with the highlight being the 800. Two runners going “toe to toe” down the straight…..if you love pro running, you would have loved this race!

  5. Thanks Richard,
    I have fond memories of the giant tubs of water at the end of the circular track holding not only cool water but equally as big sponges. They were a lifesaver for a very ordinary 400 runner!
    The Scottish theme gives this day a “silver lining”that links directly back to Scotland,the only other country with Proffessional athletics in the world.
    I have to admit i love this race meeting.
    How long ago were you with the Addy Richard?
    Thanks for you comment, much appreciated.
    Cheers David

  6. Thanks Cat
    It is special i have to admit.
    I really enjoy the bagpipes being played most of the day.
    Very very special.
    Thanks for your comment.

  7. Steve earl says

    Over in key west Florida and keeping abreast of the sports goings on in Aus by the almanac and with a mate steve hurl who won the 70 m and 120 m novice
    2nd in 70m open and won 400m in differing years from 98-07

    Cheers steve earl

Leave a Comment