NEW generation gift runners will be showcased in the Run for the Willow carnival tomorrow.
Cricket Willow has introduced a special sash, the Roz Moynihan under-17 100-metre handicap, to help entice the region’s promising young runners to Victorian Athletic League competition.
The sash in named in memory of Moynihan, a tireless Run for the Willow volunteer who died last year.
Carnival organiser Adrian Tinetti said there was plenty of exciting young talent stepping out on field tomorrow.
“The VAL has been encouraging these types of races and we’ve got lots of young runners from the Ballarat district and Bendigo in this one,” Tinetti said.
“The idea is to get them the experience. Entry fees are lower as well, compared to Gift entry which obviously has more prize-money.”
Ballarat will sport seven contenders across three heats in the under-17 dash: Nick Milton (5m), Talia Martin (8m) and Cleo Anderson (19.25m) in heat one; Mason Keast (14m), Jenna Cartledge (18.5m) and Jess Lehmann (20m) in heat two; and, Delaney Keating (20m) in heat three.
Overall entries for the meet have increased to 393, up from 283 last year.
Tinetti said bringing in opportunity for younger runners had helped boost competitor numbers, as did the gradual growing popularity of the small carnival – especially for those already in the region for the Maryborough Gift carnival on New Year’s Day.
“Runners see it as a good little meeting before they ramp up serious preparation for Stawell,” Tinetti said.
“It’s always been well-supported.”
Cricket Willow has raised more than $20,000 in gate fees for Camp Quality and other local charity since Run for the Willow was launched in 2005 and it will continue to donate all proceeds again this summer.