The aim of the scholarship is to provide support for a middle distance/distance athlete to achieve his or her athletic and educational potential. The recipient will be expected to uphold those values demonstrated by Ron over his life: commitment to his athletic career, his education and his subsequent working life; support of the athletics community; and dedication to his family and other important relationships.
Ron Clarke was truly a “renaissance man”. Among his lifetime achievements he was a successful businessman, an environmental crusader, Mayor of the Gold Coast for eight years, a philanthropist and a devoted family man.
But it is as a runner that Ron is best known. Ron showed that distance runners could race hard, race fearlessly and race anyone. His assault on performance barriers was stunning: in his halcyon days Ron took almost 40 seconds off the world record for 10,000 metres between December 1963 and July 1965 (36 seconds in one race), and 18 seconds off the world record for 5000 between January 1965 and July 1966. Ron won an Olympic bronze medal at 10,000 in Tokyo in 1964 and silver medals at three miles at the Perth Commonwealth Games in 1962, at three and six miles in Kingston Jamaica in 1966 and at 10,000 metres in Edinburgh in 1970. In all, he set 17 world records over the period 1963 to 1968, in events ranging from 2 miles to one hour.
RON’S CONTRIBUTION TO ATHLETICS INTERNATIONAL
In the late 1960s, there was a dearth of international competition in Australia. Glenhuntly Athletics Club, of which Ron was always a proud member, went guarantor for several meets at Olympic Park in 1968. A main attraction was to see people like Ron, Ralph Doubell, Derek Clayton and Kerry O’Brien run. Close to 20,000 spectators would turn up. In part, this led to several of our very top athletes at the time, including Ron, establishing Athletics International (AI). The inaugural meeting of AI was held at Helen (Ron’s wife) and Ron’s home on 15 December 1968, and was attended by 37 of our then best athletes. Ray Weinberg was elected the first President and Ron became the AI Patron, a position he held until he passed away in June 2015.
AI’s aim was to provide international competition for Australia’s athletes, and to help bring Australia’s coaching standards and facilities up to international level. In 1971 AI published Athletics the Australian Way (followed later by a second edition), with Ron both the editor and a contributor. These books contained ‘comments, advice, thought and stories about the events in which each contributor specialised and their approach to athletics’. Profits from the track meets and sales of Athletics the Australian Way provided the capital to establish the Athletics International Trust. Today, this Trust funds AI’s initiatives to help young and emerging athletes, including the domestic and international travel grants programs, and the Athletics International Ron Clarke Scholarship. Luke Mathews was the inaugural Ron Clarke Scholarship holder in 2016, and Lora Storey in 2017.
In all Ron, through both his athletic profile and desire to put something back into the sport of athletics, played a vital part in AI getting off the ground.
THE RON CLARKE SCHOLARSHIP
- Funding and associated obligations
The Athletics International Trust has allocated up to $5,000 each year for this scholarship. The AI Awards Committee will oversee the awarding of the scholarship payments. The successful athlete will receive $2,500 at the start of their first semester of study. The Ron Clarke Scholarship holder will receive a second $2,500 at the start of the second semester, following receipt by the AI Awards Committee of:
- Evidence of successful completion of the requirements of semester one; and
- A progress report on how the Scholarship has assisted the holder to progress both their educational and athletic goals.
At the completion of the academic year, the Ron Clarke Scholarship holder must:
- Provide to AI a final report indicating how the $5,000 assisted him/her to progress in their education of choice and their athletic career.
- The Scholarship holder will, where practical, be required to give a short presentation to the “Strawberries and Cream” function (should it be held) on their progress over the past year, and aspirations for the future. This function, to commemorate Ron’s world records at the Oslo Meet, has previously been held in association with the Zatopek 10km meet in Melbourne in December.
- Finally, the Scholarship holder will be required to prepare short articles for the AI Newsletter as requested, but no more than twice a year both in the year of holding the Scholarship and the next two years.
The recipient of the scholarship will be offered a mentor from Athletics International if they wish. The mentor’s role will not be a coaching one, but rather one that provides support and advice when needed. Typically, this mentor will be a former elite athlete and have experiences that could provide lessons for the scholarship recipient.
The scholarship criteria best reflect many of the characteristics Ron held dear. Applicants need to be able to demonstrate they:
- are an Australian citizen
- are a promising runner in a distance from 800m to the marathon, including the 3km steeplechase
- can demonstrate a commitment to athletics, as shown through participation over several seasons, including currently
- have demonstrated improvement over recent years, with potential to achieve elite status
- are a student attending a post-secondary education institution in Australia and undertaking, as a minimum, a 50 per cent but preferably a 75 per cent load
- do not receive significant financial support from Athletics Australia/NASS, State Institutes of Sport or other sponsors
Friday 2 February 2018
To download an application form click on this RON CLARKE Scholarship 2018 Application form
The completed application form should be emailed to: