ARGUABLY Australia's most exciting running prospect will set foot on Central Park on Easter Monday - this is the big return we have been wanting for so long.
Strap in, because the Stawell Gift carnival is luring in headline acts for what is an Olympic year.
Central Park at Easter is a place of folklore, there is a sense of magic that is hard to describe unless you have been felt it. Now the Stawell stage is set to test one of the best Australian talents: Stewart McSweyn.
The Ballarat Clarendon College star will run off scratch in Stawell's new 3200-metre invitational.
Most of the focus is on the marquee events, the Stawell Gift 120-metre handicap and newly branded Change Our Game Women's Gift but the circle can capture the imagination of a nation. Remember Cathy Freeman claiming back-to-back 400m sashes by hunting down her rivals from scratch in 1995-96.
There has been plenty of major contenders at Stawell for the sheer star power, but Stawell also offers a vital mental and physical training challenge.
Olympic middle-distance runner Tamsyn Manou (née Lewis) made the Stawell Gift carnival a key fixture. Australia's fastest female Mel Breen was a major driver to bring the Women's Gift into parity and fought to try and become the first female to reach break into the Stawell Gift semi-finals.
Handicapped racing on the grass is a completely different game on foot of hunting and being the hunted.
Everything was shaping up as a big Tokyo Games for McSweyn, who clocked qualifiers for the 10,000m, 5000m and 1500m before the pandemic hit.
Instead, McSweyn stepped out in the IAAF Diamond League by claiming national records in the 1500m and 3000m in the IAAF Diamond League.
McSweyn surprised athletics followers when he lined up in small north-west Tasmanian town Penguin's athletics carnival deep in December. Paced for the first two laps, McSweyn finished clear ahead of rivals to clock the world's fastest recorded mile and the fastest mile on Australian soil with a time of three minutes, 50.61 seconds.
And now McSweyn is on the road to Stawell as a major stop on his journey to Tokyo.
"As a kid I followed the Stawell Gift and used to watch it on television," McSweyn said."Some great names have raced at Stawell, so it will be really good to finally be a part of it.
"It's the biggest athletic event on TV and I get to run there, it's pretty cool. I know quite a few people who have run at Stawell and they all talk about the track and what awesome nick it is in for the Gift."
The field is strong.
Olympians Brett Robinson and Ryan Gregson are in the mix - both spent extensive time training in Ballarat with hometown long-distance runner Collis Birmingham. McSweyn must also chase Olympic 10,000m finalist Dave McNeill, Commonwealth half-marathon champion Jack Rayner and Australian 1500m runner Jordy Williamz.
This event could prove a kingmaker for the King Island star. What a great comeback for what Stawell at Easter can be all about.
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