HH Hunter 100 years after Gallipoli

The Victorian Open Championship trophy named in the honour of Herbert Humphreys “Herb” Hunter who was a resident at Trinity at Melbourne University was a standout athlete and student of dentistry.

Hunter received Blues for Athletics in 1902, 1903, 1904 and 1905.

And, was an accomplished footballer, receiving a double Blue for Football in 1905, later going on to play senior football at Essendon Football Club.

He completed a Doctor of Dental Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania in 1906 after which he returned to Australia and Bendigo to open a practice.

The Athletics Victoria H.H. Hunter Trophy was carved by Robert Prenzel.

Athletics Bendigo also awards the H.H Hunter Athlete of the Year – Hunter in the early days competed for Bendigo Hares and Hounds at VAAA – and was a founding member.

He was part of the landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 and was killed in action on 8 May 1915 aged 33.

The current top 10 after Day 1 action:

1. Athletics Essendon – 91

2. Melbourne University Athletic Club – 44

3. Deakin Athletic Club – 39

4. Glenhuntly Athletic Club -35

5. Box Hill Athletic Club – 31

5. Ringwood – 31

7. Knox Athletic Club -19

8. Eureka Athletic Club – 18

9. Collingwood Harriers -17

10. Western Athletics – 14

Click here for full points ladder

Victorian Champs 800m progression update

Athletics Victoria would like to apologise for the miss communication and administrative error at the start of the 800m heats on Friday night (Day 1) at the 2015 Victorian Open & AWD Track & Field Championships.

As a result, semi-finals for the top 16 qualifiers will now run at 7.05pm and 7.10pm at the original A&B Final time with the Final going on Sunday at 12.20pm. The first 3 in each heat and the next 2 fastest will progress to the final.

In regards to the Men’s and Women’s Open 400m. As per the advancements published the fastest 8 from the heats will progress to the A final with the next fastest going in to the B final. Laned draws will be seeded on heats times not placings.

Please note that athletes who decide not to compete in subsequent rounds of men’s 800m or 1500m events will not be penalised.

Athletics Frankston Open Day

SUNDAY 8TH March 2015

For all Age Groups from Little Aths u9 to Seniors 40+

Come and help us celebrate the Re-Opening of the Ballam Park Athletics Track

ONE BIG DAY OF ATHLETICS

From Track Events, Discus and Hurdles to Hammer Throw, High Jump  and SteepleChase

Where the kids can compete and watch the ability of some of Victoria’s Open Age Athletes, and where the Seniors can come and watch some of the talented up and coming stars of the future.

Make a day of it with our BBQ and Canteen open all day, and the Coffee and Slushi Van’s there with refreshments.

Events offered to all Ages, with a MAXIMUM of 4 events per Athlete. Cost is $6-00 per event, and Medals will be presented for each event.

For more information, Draft Timetable, and to Register for events go to:-

http://www.bpathletics.com.au

http://www.frankstonlittleathletics.com.au

http://www.frankstonathletics.net

*Event is open to all comers, you DO NOT need to be registered with an athletic club or centre to compete

Entries close 4th March 2015

Pacific ‘Cool Runnings’ team comes to Melbourne

Two young Solomon Island athletes are swapping tropical weather and dusty roads for a stint in Melbourne in preparation for the upcoming Pacific Games – all with the support of Australian aid workers and a Melbourne-based Olympian.

Rosefelo Siosi and Sharon Firisua captured the hearts of Australians living in Honiara with their contagious enthusiasm and tireless work ethic, overcoming the difficulties resulting from a decade-long civil conflict and recent flooding event that devastated the city.

Rossi’, as he likes to be called, became a national marathon champion at the age of 16, and now he and Ms Firisua are respective 5,000m national record holders. Both have also represented their small island nation at events in Tahiti, Wallis and Futuna, the Cook Islands and recent Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Now with the support of the Solomon Islands Government, Rossi and Ms Firisua are travelling to the south eastern Melbourne suburbs to train with Glenhuntly Athletic Club. The trip was made possible thanks to the generous support and good will of former Olympian, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and Life Member of Glenhuntly Athletics, Trevor Vincent. Having taken an interest in the athletes in early 2014, Trevor has offered to mentor and coach the Rossi and Ms Firisua as they prepare for the largest Pacific sporting event being staged this year in Papua New Guinea.

19 old Rossi said he was really looking forward to the chance to improve his running and go even faster.

“It’s an amazing experience to come to a sports-crazy nation like Australia. We are very grateful for all the support we have received to make the visit happen and hope we can make everyone, including our families, proud.”

Solomon Islands is one of the poorest nations in the Pacific with high levels of unemployment, malaria infection, infant mortality and diabetes. Athletes battle heat, humidity, traffic, a lack of sporting facilities and equipment. The national athletics track doubles as a rugby field, often requiring athletes to cut the grass by hand with machetes or “bush knives” before they can train.

Joining Rossi and Ms Firisua in Australia will be two young triathletes, Rocky Donald and Jad Nalo. At just 16, Rocky is the Solomon Islands National Triathlon Champion while Mr Nalo recently represented Solomons in triathlon at the recent Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

While Athletics Victoria and the Solomon Islands Victoria Association (SIVA) will also be providing support to the athletes, Glenhuntly Athletic Club is looking for donations of the following items:

  • Running shoes (new or second hand)
  • Running clothing (especially compression or warm clothing)
  • Bikes (new or second hand)
  • Swimming pool entry (2 to 3 month pass)
  • Train/tram/bus travel vouchers
  • Supermarket vouchers

Please contact Trevor Vincent on 0407 922 597 (or hunteraths@gmail.com) if you would like to help out or come down and see the athletes train.

Last chance to compete at AV Knockout Final

A call out to all athletes wishing to compete at AV Knockout Final on Saturday 7 March at Lakeside Stadium.

DO YOU HAVE AN AV RANKING?

Check here for your ranking: http://athsvic.org.au/rankings/

HAVE YOU NOMINATED FOR AV KNOCKOUT FINAL?

Athletics Victoria is extending nominations for AV Knockout Final to 11:59PM on Thursday 26 February.

Check out the event page to nominate: http://athsvic.org.au/event/201415-av-knockout-final/

NOT IN THE TOP 16?

Not a problem – All AV ranked athletes are invited to nominate and will be considered for a “guest” spot. That means even if you didn’t compete in AV Knockout round 1 or 2 you will be considered to compete if a spot is available in that event.

Note: Guest athletes won’t be eligible for medals.

NEED A REFRESH ON THE EVENT INFO?

Visit the event page for all you need to know about A V Knockout Final here: http://athsvic.org.au/event/201415-av-knockout-final/

ASSISTANCE REQUIRED?

If you’re having any issue with the entry process or have questions about eligibility please:

  • Email summer@athsvic.org.au before 11:59pm on Thursday 26 February or;
  • Call Athletics Victoria on 03 8646 4500 before 5:00pm on Thursday 26 February

Athlete Eligibility:

To be eligible for the AV Knockout Final athletes MUST have a ranking on the AV Rankings portal and competed at either round 1 or round 2 of AV Knockout. The top 16 athletes in each age group/event will be taken from the AV Rankings to make up the fields. Athletes MUST enter the event via the AV Website, there is no entry fee, but athletes need to register to show they would like to compete.

Please remember AV will not be contacting athletes who are in the top 16 on the rankings for entry purposes, if an athlete does not register the spot will be given to the next highest ranked athlete who has registered before the closing deadline.

Please note: A guest entry does not guarantee you a spot in the event, you will gain a spot if not all 16 athletes in that event enter and a spot is left over. Interstate/national athletes will also be eligible to enter and will gain guest spots on the same basis as above.

Athletes who gain a guest spot will be added into the ‘B’ final as the top 8 athletes in the ‘A’ final will be made up of those who are listed on the AV Rankings. Guest/invite athletes will not be eligible for medals in the AV Knockout Final as they will be competing as a guest/invite athlete. It is the discretion of Athletics Victoria to combine A & B Finals.

Alan Glover shield up for grabs at Zone Final

The inaugural Zone Final this Saturday will close off the club season and pit Yellow, Blue, Red and Country zones against each other for the Alan Glover Trophy at Lakeside Stadium.

Glover was a respected member of the Victorian athletics community and his impact on the sport was wide spread, whether it was timing keeping at the Victorian Milers Club since its inception in 2007 or a helping hand at Athletics Waverley, Alan was dedicated and passionate about athletics.

The Alan Glover trophy will be presented by wife of 56 years Yvonne to the winning zone.

After 10 rounds of AV Shield including three Zone v Zone rounds Yellow zone will head into this weekend’s finals the zone to beat.

Yellow topped the AV Shield points with 9,649.75 and 12 Zone v Zone points.

Key event information:

Please be aware of the following:

The timetable of events is due to start at 10am in light of the Neon Run being conducted at Albert Park, which is due to begin at 7:00pm outside the stadium.

Please also be aware that this Saturday night is the annual White Night event in Melbourne which means many of the CBD roads will be closed to traffic. This event takes place between 7pm (21 Feb) -7am (22 Feb).

Road closures and information on this event can be found by clicking here.

Traralgon Harriers Community Fun Run 2015

What better way to kick off your new year than by entering the DFP Recruitment – Latrobe City Community Fun Run & Walk on Sunday 1 March 2015.  Set in the heart of Traralgon on Kay Street, this year promises to be our biggest yet.  Why not gather your family, friends, work colleagues and get a team together for even more fun.  There’s a 1.5km run for the kids to start the morning off so come to cheer on the kids and then run or walk yourself in the 5km main event.  We are supporting local cancer support service, Gippsland Rotary Centenary House again this year.

The 2014 event was a great success with 492 entries and $5,500 raised for Gippsland Rotary Centenary House, read more below.  The involvement of schools, organisations and work places was fantastic in 2014 with Gippsland Water having 50 members in their team some of whom are pictured below before the event.

For information on the course and event make sure you read to the bottom of this page and see theEvent Details page for more information and the entry link.  We encourage you to read all information prior to entering.

We are proud to be raising funds for a Gippsland Rotary Centenary House.  An essential cancer support service, they provide fantastic support for the Gippsland Community which is why we are supporting them, find out more via the GRCH Website

Entry Fees:
  • Adults $30
  • Adult Concession $20
  • Harriers Members $25
  • Under 18 yrs $15
  • Families (2 adults & 2 Under 18yrs) $75
  • Teams (4 adults) $100    NB. Team entries must be made together in one transaction
  • Student Teams (4 under 18 yrs) $50.
  • NB. For large groups 20 or more from schools, workplaces, etc enter in teams of 4 and ensure the organisation is identified for all entries
Entries for this event will only be available online.   We are expecting a large number of entries and it is not practical or realistic to do it any other way.  We would like the whole community to support this event including schools, sporting clubs and work places.  A great way to get involved is to enter a team of 4, get fit and help raise much needed funds for GRCH.    In line with the Healthy Together Latrobe Initiative, Awards will be given to the Work Places and Schools with the most entrants.

Important Tips for Entering Teams  

You need a team name and details of all 4 members before you start.  This includes: names, DOB, email addresses, contact details, and emergency contact for all members.    When selecting an event category, if everyone in the team is either walking or running 5km you can select the same response as the first team member.   All teams attract a discount.

Please download our event posters to help promote the event at your school, workplace, and to your family and friends.

CFR 2015 General Flyer
CFR 2015 Organisations Flyer
CFR 2015 Schools Flyer
CFR 2015 Workplaces Flyer

Pick up race numbers at Race Start Area in Kay Street: between 3:30-4:30pm on Saturday 28 February or between 8:00-9.00am on Sunday 1 March.

Race Start Times: 1.5km kids races starts at 9:00am and 5km race starts at 9:30am

Come to cheer on the kids then run or walk yourself

To view maps of the courses click here 5 km run and walk and a 1.5km run for kids (Ensure the units are in Metric)

For information about the event read the Event Details page for more information and the entry link.

 

Victoria dominates World Cross selection

Athletics Australia Selectors have today confirmed the selection of 24 athletes, the most possible under IAAF rules, for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships on 28 March 2015.

Set to battle it out with the best endurance athletes from around the globe in Guiyang (CHN), the decision means that Australia will field a full quota of six athletes in every event on the timetable.

“The Athletics Australia Selectors are pleased that we have been able to select a team of this size for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and we wish every athlete success in their preparation for what will be a very hard fought event,” Dion Russell, the Athletics Australia Chairman of Selectors said.

“In accordance with the aims of the Selection Policy, those selected have been identified as athletes who can achieve a top-32 finish as an individual or a top-eight finish as a team. We’ve also taken into account how this event will provide important major championships experience to those athletes we believe have the potential to represent Australia at future Olympic Games or World Championships.”

Automatic selections have been afforded to David McNeill (Vic), Harry Summers (NSW) and LiamAdams (Vic) in the men’s open event and Victoria Mitchell (NSW), Jessica Trengove (SA) andKate Spencer (NSW) in the women’s open event.

A marathon starter at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, Adams’ selection will ensure his seventh appearance for Australia at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships. McNeill, Summers and Mitchell will compete for the fourth time and Glasgow 2014 medallist Trengove for a second time, while Spencer will make her debut in the open age event after competing for Australia at the IAAF World Junior Championships last year.

All other selections have been made at the discretion of the Athletics Australia Selectors. Amongst them is Zatopek:10 winner Brett Robinson (Vic) and Glasgow 2014 starters Emily Brichacek (ACT, 5000m) and James Nipperess (NSW, 3000m steeplechase).

Australia has fielded a team at every instalment of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships since its inception in 1973, winning one individual medal (GOLD, Benita Willis, 2004) and two team medals (BRONZE, open women, 2008 and BRONZE, open women short course, 2006)

At the most recent instalment of the event in Bydgoszcz (POL) in 2013, the Australian team was 19-strong, with Collis Birmingham (Vic) leading the way with his 8th place in the open men’s event. His performance assisted the team to 7th overall.

For more information on the IAAF World Championships, please follow this link to the event page for the IAAF World Cross Country Championships at the IAAF website.

For more information on Australia’s history at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships, please click here.

IAAF World Cross Country Championships
Guiyang, China
28 March 2015 

MEN (12):
12km (open): Liam Adams (Vic), Mitchel Brown (Vic), David McNeill (Vic), James Nipperess (NSW), Harry Summers (NSW), Brett Robinson (Vic)
8km (junior): Bryce Anderson (ACT), Charlie Hunter (NSW), Ben Kelly (Vic), Morgan McDonald (NSW), Nathan Pearce (Vic), Matthew Ramsden (WA)

WOMEN (12):
8km (open): Emily Brichacek (ACT), Gemma Maini (Vic), Victoria Mitchell (NSW), Courtney Powell (Vic), Kate Spencer (NSW), Jessica Trengove (SA)
6km (junior): Sophie Eckel (SA), Jessica Hull (NSW), Amy McCormick (WA), Leanne Pompeani (ACT), Karlie Swanson (NSW), Brianna Thomas (Qld)

Vic Junior Champs Day 2 Timetable Changes

Due to weather conditions Friday night session of the 2015 Victorian Junior Championships has been cancelled.

Please see the below time changes for those events that did not go ahead or were cancelled before the completion of the event.

CHANGES FIELD:

8:45am – Men U15 & U18 Triple Jump

8:45am – Men U15, U16, U17 & U18 Javelin

9:45am – Men U20 Triple Jump

10:00am – Women U16 Shot Put

10:30am – Men U20 Pole Vault

10:45am – Women U17 & U18 Javelin

12:00pm – Women U17/U18/U20 Pole Vault athletes who still had jumps left will finish jumps at this time.

7:30pm – Men U15 & U16 Shot Put

Athletes competing at 8:45am or 9:45am must check-in at CALL ROOM at 8:15AM.

CHANGES TRACK EVENTS:

400M events will be run as TIMED FINALS starting with the Men U14 at 7:10pm.

Athletes need to make sure there times are correct when checking-in or adjust it so you are seeded correctly. Athletes must check-in 1 HOUR PRIOR to the time listed on the TIMETABLE BELOW.

1500M events will be run as STRAIGHT FINALS – All athletes must CHECK-IN at Athlete TIC by 8:10PM and will compete once the 400m events are finished.

All athletes must check-in prior to their event at the times specified below and report to CALL ROOM 25 minutes prior.

Please see the UPDATED TIMETABLE HERE – UPDATES ARE BOLDED IN RED.

In the circumstance that a previously qualified athlete (via performance standard or 2014 Victorian All Schools medal) in a field event or 1500m event from tonight is no longer able to compete due to the rescheduling of the Victorian Junior Championship program, the athlete will not lose their eligibility status to be selected in the Victorian team for the Australian Junior Championships in Sydney.

If you have further questions please email Athlete Development Manager Nick Wall nick.wall@athsvic.org.au

Records on notice as Rudisha confirmed to race Rowe

Alex Rowe could become the nation’s fastest ever 800m runner in his own right this Australian Athletics Tour, with confirmation today that world record holder David Rudisha (KEN) will compete at upcoming events in Sydney (NSW) and Melbourne (Vic).

Set to pit the 22-year-old rising star against the Olympic champion in the two-lap race, any time below 1:44.40 from Rowe would ensure his sole claim on the Australian record he currently shares with 1968 Olympic Games gold medallist Ralph Doubell.

Rowe is arguably in ideal shape to strike a challenge for the time too, with his victory taking performance of 1:45.38 at the Canberra Track Classic this past weekend a qualifying performance for the 2015 IAAF World Championships and more than three seconds quicker than his season opening performance at the Adelaide Track Classic in 2014.

“The opportunity to race against the best gives me the opportunity to bring the best out in myself. I’m excited for him to get here to run as fast as I can domestically,” Rowe said.

“I believe that after my run in Canberra where I ran the 1:45 that I can definitely bring that time down in to the 1:44’s. Once I am in that time zone then I guess the mark of 1:44.40 will be there at the back of my mind and hopefully I can post a time in or around the mark.

“When I equalled the record in Monaco it was an unusual feeling because there were limited people to celebrate it with. My close friends and family weren’t there and the prospect of doing it in Australia is a whole lot more attractive. For my parents to be there, and my coach Justin (Rinaldi) too. To do it in his presence after the hard work he has put in these past years would be great.”

Rudisha’s international resume is one of the best in the business.

The current world 800m record holder and Olympic champion, he won the IAAF World Championships gold medal in 2011 and has crossed for victory at 16 instalments of the IAAF Diamond League. His trophy cabinet also includes two top of the podium finishes at the African Athletics Championships and the men’s 800m win at the 2009 World Athletics Final.

Making his Australian debut at the 2010 IAAF Melbourne Track Classic, Rudisha has won the 800m at events on the Australian Athletics Tour on three occasions, with his best time on local soil being 1:43.15. It will be his first appearance in Sydney and Melbourne since 2012.

“I’m very pleased to be coming back to run in in Sydney and Melbourne in March. I’ve had some very good races at these meets in the past and I’m expecting some stiff competition this year with Alex in great form already and likely to be in even better shape later in his season. He can push the national record if the conditions are right and I want to help him do that if that’s the form he is in,” Rudisha said.

“My trips to Australia are about training. It’s a very good setup for me. The training environment is comfortable and there are plenty of great places to get some kilometres done. The Tan is one of my favourite spots to run and it’ll be good to get back there.”

Rowe’s coach Justin Rinaldi is also excited about the opportunity now open to his charge, and other Australian middle distance runners including Glasgow 2014 starters Jeff Riseley (Vic) and Joshua Ralph (NSW), following the confirmation of the London 2012 Olympic gold medallist.

“As a coach I couldn’t be happier about Athletics Australia confirming a runner like David Rudisha. Getting someone like him out here allows Alex, and the other boys in the 800m, to focus on trying to beat him rather than trying to beat the clock and chasing a qualifying time. David is someone the boys will need to chase and if they can do that, and even better than that go past him, the times will follow,” Rinaldi said.

“Our goal is that Alex will always go through the first 400m in 50.8. We positive split the second lap and are working toward him hitting a time of 52-high. If he runs the latter 400m time as he chases David then we will hopefully see a new personal best for him, but he needs to execute his race plan well and work hard in that last 200 metres.”

The Sydney Track Classic and the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, to be held on Saturday 14 and 21 March respectively, double as the Australian Athletics Tour Finals for 2015.

Set to welcome Australia’s best athletes, and a plethora of invited talent from around the world, the two events will provide a tantalising taste of the competition expected at the 93rd Australian Athletics Championships and IAAF World Championship Selection Trial in Brisbane on the last weekend in March.

For more information on the Sydney Track Classic and the IAAF Melbourne World Challenge, including entry lists, the event timetable and ticketing information, please follow this link to the #SUMMERofATHS website at athletics.com.au.

Junior athletes ready to shine at Vic Champs

Over 1,200 of Victoria’s best junior athletes including 2014 Commonwealth Games high jump gold medalist Eleanor Patterson will be on show this weekend for the 2015 Victorian Junior Track & Field Championships at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park.

Patterson will be out to improve on her current year’s best of 1.91m from Zone V Zone last month in preparation for both the state and national open championships.

The 18-year-old South Coast jumper won’t be the only high jumper drawing the crowd’s attention; 2014 world junior representative Joel Baden since jumping 2.17m in the final at Oregon improved on his personal best at the APS Athletics Final last October with a height of 2.29m taking him to fifth on the Australian all-time rankings list.

Following on the Oregon theme Nunawading sprinter Hana Basic will be favourite to take out the 100m after a decent first up effort for 2015 of 12.00 at the Canberra Track Classic last weekend.

Queensland sprinter Jacinta Beecher will offer strong competition from Basic and the rest of the Victorian women sprinters as she heads to Melbourne to chase the world youth qualifying time of 11.83 in the 100m.

With a recent personal best 11.89 and currently leading the under 20 seasons best for the 200m in 24.05 the invite runner will be one to mix it up with Diamond Valley’s Maddie Coates and returning  Nunawading sprinter Katarina Mosebergen after focusing on year 12 studies.

The men’s 400m event will be one to watch with Knox athlete and Youth Olympics representative Michael Mullett going head-to-head with Deakin’s Sam Reiser, who ran 47.79 at the Canberra Track Classic last weekend.

Starting the championships program on Friday will be world junior 10,000m race walks representative Tayla-Paige Billington in the 5000m race walks.

World youth hopeful Jemima Montag will be another race walker to keep an eye on, after finishing 12th at the world race walking championships in China last year the Maccabi athlete already has the qualifying time of 23:22.6 after clocking 23:09.0 in Melbourne last November.

Essendon’s Amelia Mazza-Downie is another chasing a world youth spot and the 15 year-old has already secured one qualifying time in the 3000m of 9:27.16 at Zatopek:10 last December and will be firmly focused on the magic time of 9:32.9 this weekend.

Youth Olympics representative Ned Weatherly will no doubt be putting on show for the crowd this weekend, the Chilwell thrower already has two qualifying distances in the hammer throw (5kg) that included an impressive personal best of 79.03 at the Australia All Schools Championships last December in Adelaide.

Multi event athlete Celeste Mucci is another athlete with world youth ambitions, the 2014 under 16 Australian junior 90m hurdles champion has continued her upward curve in 2015 finishing second to Ringwood’s highly talented 100m hurdler Danielle Shaw at the Australian All Schools last year.

Box Hill sprinter Nana-Adoma Owusu-Afriyie is one who continues to impress as she moves up the ranks and, last weekend’s AV Knockout Round 2 was good signs for the Wesley student winning the 100m and jumping a massive personal best 5.93m.

Other exciting athletes on show this weekend will be Youth Olympics representative Ryan Patterson who will be favoured in the 800m and 1500m, with Chilwell’s Lachlan Barber the most likely to cause Patterson trouble in the 800m after impressing at Canberra Track Classic last weekend with a personal best of 1:48.06.

Good luck to all athletes competing across the weekend and don’t forget those wishing to nominate for the Australian Junior Championships the application process closes on Sunday 15 February.

Check out the athlete nomination entry check list for more information: http://athsvic.org.au/wp-content/uploads/Nomination-Entry-Checklist-2015-Australian-Juniors2.pdf

Key information:

Date: Friday 13 – Sunday 15 February
Where: Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park
Event Page: http://athsvic.org.au/event/2015-victorian-junior-track-field-championships/
S
ocial Media: @athsvic #vicchamps15

Collis Birmingham is the new king of sport in Ballarat

The long-distance track star was crowned the 2014 Ballarat Sportsmen’s Club Sportsperson of the Year on Wednesday night, breaking Jared Tallent’s four-year stranglehold on the title.

Collis Birmingham after being named Ballarat Sportsperson of the Year at the Ballarat Golf Club on Wednesday night. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

It is the first time Birmingam has won the award, following a stunning first half of the year on the track that was crucial in him becoming Australia’s elite long-distance runner.

However, injury plagued the tail end of his season, meaning Birmingham thought he had little chance of winning the award.

“I felt like I had a terrible finish to the year, I was disappointed to be injured and not perform all that well at the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“But often you forget about how well you’ve done previously, it wasn’t really at the forefront of my mind.

“There are still some really good results in there, the world indoors (where he finished 10th) seems so long ago now.”

He won the 5000m Australian title for the second time in April and also finished as the top ranked Australian in the 3000m, 5000m and 10,000m disciplines.

Birmingham also earned a Commonwealth Games spot and finished 12th in the 5000m.

At the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Sopot he finished 10th – the third-best performance by an Australian athlete in the history of the championships and arguably his best result of the year.

Having recovered from a hamstring injury and stress fracture, Birmingham returned to training on Wednesday for the first time.

It only involved four one-kilometre runs around Lake Wendouree but for the 30-year-old, it was great to just be back out on the track.

“It’s just about being a bit more cautious this time. I rushed back into it, obviously, after my hamstring injury,” he said.

“It’s nothing compared to what I normally do but I tell you what, it felt great to be back out there.”

Birmingham will now set his sights on the World Athletics Championships in China in August.

Jared Tallent had claimed the crown in 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 and still remains one title behind marathon legend Steve Moneghetti and trap shooting Olympic gold medallist Russell Mark.

Birmingham was one of nine finalists for the award presented at Ballarat Golf Club on Wednesday night, alongside Tallent (athletics) Kathryn Mitchell (javelin), Kolbe Pool (eight-ball), Darren Weir (horse racing), Matt Short (cricket), Shannyn Johnstone-Ward (karate), Tim Slater (lawn bowls) and Duer Yoa (athletics).

Story courtesy of Fairfax Media
Patrick Nolan
patrick.nolan@fairfaxmedia.com.au