Vale Life Member Charles Nolan

Charles Raymond Nolan Best known as Charlie (6th Jan 1932 – 1st August 2019). Life Member Athletics Victoria and Athletics Bendigo.

Charlie was first involved with athletics in the 1970’s when his son Leigh was a member of the Bendigo YCW club.

In the mid 1970’s the Bendigo Regional Centre wanted to develop an all-weather track in Bendigo. At that stage the Centre was based at the Bendigo Sports Centre where the quality grass track was an unusual shape and under 400 metres with inadequate facilities for field events.

After much hassling with the local councils the former Shire of Huntly offered up a bare patch of land just off the highway at Epsom.  Part of the deal was that the Centre had to contribute a significant percentage of the funds to lay the black bitumen rubber track and develop the site.

Charlie headed up the fundraising committee that included a core group of women to raise the necessary funds. At that stage the men’s and women’s group were separate entities. Charlies women’s fundraising group along with the support of the local Bendigo Centre Clubs did all the usual country efforts like cake stalls and raffles to raise the necessary funds and the Epsom Track was opened in 1980.

His work was not finished with the opening. Charlie for the next 19 years managed the track for the Centre. He took the bookings, cut the grass (although Steve Ryan tells of doing some mowing under Charlies control  and he was a tough taskmaster). During this period Charlie was working as a “traveller” for a motor car spare parts firm and this took him all over the North Central part of the State often over 100 miles (160kms) from Bendigo. Before he set off each day, when the schools were competing, he would make sure that the track and equipment was ready for the school and that the key was at the spot he had at his home for collection. Then at night he’d check that the track was left in good condition and quite often set up for a school next day.

Charlie headed up the Committee of Management for the track which eventually included the Epsom Soccer Club and Tennis Club. In addition he was  Centre President  for four years, Vice President for two years and Secretary for three years.

Perhaps Charlie was best known in the athletics community as the Centre Starter. He was a quality official. Fair yet strict. Those were the days when the athletes had to have their tops tucked in. Charlie spoke of practicing at home in front of a mirror to get the correct timing and process for the start commands. He regularly travelled to Melbourne to work at meets. In addition Charlie was a lead starter at the Victorian Country Championships for over 20 years.

Charlies officiating was not restricted to the track. He was the Centre Starter for the Winter Cross Country and Road Races and in recent times worked and an official on Sundays for the Bendigo Athletic club where his son Leigh and grandsons Josh and Jacob competed.

One task that Charlie took on that not many were aware of was the running of the VRI Bingo on Saturday nights. This for over 20 years. He organised the Bendigo clubs to support the Bingo helpers on a roster and the funds from this were for Bendigo Region, then Athletics Bendigo, to support the maintenance of the Epsom and then Flora Hill facilities including fitting out the venues with high quality equipment. This fundraising laid the foundation for the Centre remaining to be, over 40 years after Charlie was first involved, in a sound position both with a quality venue and financially.

In conclusion although Charlie was immensely proud of the “black track” at Epsom he had the vision to realise that the new track at Flora Hill was a progressive move by Athletics Bendigo and  the amalgamated regional councils into the City of Greater Bendigo. He continued on working with the venue hire for a couple of years and as the Starter however before retiring from Athletics Bendigo he made sure that there were processes in place for equipment hire and most importantly someone could take over his prized guns.

When the Centre was at Epsom the Pavilion was named after him.  The Charlie Nolan Pavilion. To continue on the memory of his contribution the meeting room at Flora Hill track is called the Charlie Nolan Room and Athletics Bendigo presents an award each season to the Outstanding Official *The Charlie Nolan Award” to recognise this officials contribution to the Centre and perpetuate the role Charlie played as an athletics official in not only Bendigo  but also Victoria.


Victorian club relay championships kick off 2016 XCR series

Australia’s premier cross country and road series, XCR, will start with the popular club cross country relay championships at Jells Park this Saturday 16 April.

Club relay teams will tackle 6km and 3km courses at the iconic public parklands. The challenging course requires runners to transverses grassland and dense pine forest.

The first round has attracted 314 club relay teams, ranging from under 14 boys and girls through to 40 plus runners.

In 2015 the event created XCR history, attracting the series largest participation numbers, 1,182 runners of all abilities, including distance running legend Steve Moneghetti making it to the start line.

XCR is a 10 round series, combining individual cross country, road and club based relay competitions.

Taking in Victoria’s surf coast, south eastern suburbs and regional sporting hubs including Ballarat, each event provides economic benefits for local communities and helps promote an active and health life style.

Event Information:

Entry list:

XCR’16 Series Guide:

For a round by round guide, rules, clubs and series information download the XCR’16 guide here.

Two new venues:

In 2016 two new venues have been added to the XCR calendar – Wandin Park and Cruden Farm.

Situated an hour east of the Melbourne’s CBD, Wandin Park will replace Lardner Park on Saturday 7 May. The undulating hills and breathtaking backdrop of the Victorian country side will offer value to both participant and spectator.

A fortnight later we head to Cruden Farm which will host the 8km and 16km heritage round. The grounds of Cruden Farm offer athletes a tough and testing course with a mixture of different terrains to accompany the beautiful grounds surrounding the farm.

“Cruden Farm is a historic and inspirational venue and will be a great addition to the XCR calendar,” said Athletics Victoria CEO Glenn Turnor.

“We have seen hire fees increase along with major changes to what is permitted at some venues to the point that we need to look elsewhere.  This coupled with the results from our member survey confirmed that we are on the right track. Both Cruden Farm and Wandin Park have been very accommodating and are both excited to host cross country events.”

Owned by the Murdoch family, the grounds spectacular gardens and sweeping hills will provide the perfect backdrop for the Victorian 10 Mile Championships.

The inclusion of these two new and exciting venues promises to offer a new dimension to the XCR’16 series.

Key Information:
What: 2016 Victorian Cross Country Relay Championships
Where: Jells Park (Google Map)
When: Saturday 16 April, 2016
Social media: @athsvic #XCR16

Destination Albany for Big V cross country stars

Athletics Victoria is pleased to announce 48 Big V junior athletes will fly the flag for Victoria at the Australian Cross Country Championships in Albany, Western Australia this August.

“The Athletics Victoria team, headlined by 2013 National medallists Jack Rayner and Amelia Mazza Downie, is stacked with talented distance runners from all across Victoria,” Nick Wall Athlete Development Manager said.

A wide cross section of athletes from country and metro make up the team with Ballarat and Geelong regions particularly well represented, making up 30% of the team.

Marcellin College, currently Victorian All Schools Cross Country & Road Relays champions proudly boasts three athletes.

Apart from the aforementioned trio, Victorian gold medallists James Stanley, Jack Davies and Charlotte Bassett are among those leading the charge for the Big V in Albany.

The Australian Cross Country Championships will take place on 23 August with close to 1,000 young athletes’ sets to take over the southern Western Australian city of Albany.

Albany sits 418km south of Perth and has a population just over 35,000 making it the sixth largest city in the state.

A senior team of 12 athletes will be announced next Wednesday 2 July with selectors finalising the team early next week. Nominations for this team close at 1pm, Friday 27 June.

For Schools Sports Victoria team please see linked PDF:

Full team:


Athlete School
Luke Padgham Catholic College Bendigo
Benjamin Powell Creek St Christian College
Caleb Hough Essendon Grammar
Archie Reid Echuca College
Jacob Bell St John Bosco’s
Harrison Van Duuren St Patricks Primary School


Alistair Strutt Wesley College
Kieran Hennig Gippsland Grammar


Athlete School
Lily Peacock Lilydale High School
Sophie McMinimee Bacchus Marsh Grammar
Alyssa Waugh Catholic College Sale
Erika Allen Gippsland Grammar
Brooke Mullins Mansfield
Oliva Hobbs Belmont High School


Amy Canavan Ballarat Grammar
Olivia Harper Ruyton Girls School


Athlete School
James Stanley Xavier College
Tim Caldwell Doncaster Secondary
Scott McKenzie Marcellin College
Aidan McCormack Marcellin College
Paris Street St Kevins College
Will Lindsay Trinity Grammar School


James Lightfoot Scotch College
Christian Nuzzo Xavier College


Athlete School
Amelia Mazza-Downie Maribyrnong College
Katie Webb St Columba’s College
Meaghan Gaunt Collingwood Harriers
Ella Wragg Ruyton Girls school
Jennifer Mendes Maribyrnong College
Meg Oakley-Kerr Wesley College


Emma Files Strathmore Secondary College


Athlete School
Benjamin Cox Marcellin College
Jack Van Stekelenburg Melbourne Grammar School
Daniel Dunstone Point Cook College
Lochlan Lyness Hallam Senior Secondary
Aran Brown Haileybury College
William Armstrong Haileybury College


Jacques Verstraten Independent
Ben Scala Xavier College


Athlete School
Charlotte Bassett Macrobertson Girls High School
Georgia Hansen Carey Baptist Grammar
Rachel Waters Geelong Grammar school
Emily Guy Loreto Toorak
Claudia O’Callaghan Ivanhoe Girls School
Chelsea Dutt Mentone Girls School


Bree Warren Haileybury College
Audrey Campton-Smith Ruyton Girls School


Athlete School
Jack Davies Eureka
Stewart McSweyn Eureka
Jack Rayner Western Athletics
Daniel Young Box Hill / Yarra Valley Grammar
Jack Holden St Kevins AAC
Mitchell Dyer Box Hill / Trinity Grammar School


Reily Shaw Deakin
Yohan Phillip Melbourne University


Athlete School
Molly Tilbrook Box Hill
Claudia Verstraten Athletics Chillwell / Scared Heart Geelong
Courney Scott Eureka
Sarah Waters Deakin
Elly Jackson Toorak College
Kaitlyn Egan Frankston


Katie Gamble Doncaster
Sarah Jackson Toorak College

Frankston’s Sarah Klein builds for Glasgow roads

Next month the reality of a debut Commonwealth Games will come true for Frankston marathon runner Sarah Klein who twelve months ago would never have anticipated nomination by Athletics Australia to the Australian Commonwealth Games Association to compete in Glasgow.

It was only when a friend made Klein aware she might have run a Commonwealth Games ‘B’ qualifying standard of 2:42:30 at last year’s Melbourne Marathon was the idea of competing in Glasgow entertained.

“A friend of mine text me and said you might have done a qualifier for the Commonwealth Games and I thought, I never even though of that, so I looked it up and I was 23 seconds off of the b qualifier and after speaking to my coach we thought there was always a chance with the marathon, you never know what’s going to happen so we had crack,” Klein said.

The fourth place finish in Melbourne instigated a growing ambition for the Caulfield Grammar School teacher to put in place the steps to have a serious attempt at making her first senior Australian team.

“I attempted Gold Coast in 2012 and got injured the week before and went back in 2013 but pulled up a bit lame in the lead up so my debut was Melbourne 2013, it actually took three attempts to get to the start line of a marathon to begin with and now I’m coming up to my third one and guess I’m a marathon runner now,” said Klein.

Focus turned to Europe and at the Marathon Rotterdam in the Netherlands in April Klein secured the ‘B’ qualifying standard with a personal best time of 2:38:53.

“It’s a real relief to work so hard for something and to cross the line and to see the 2:38 I was really proud of myself and so stoked to get the b qualifier,” Klein said.

“A few things had to fall into place for me to be selected and I was, so I’ll take it and can’t wait to get over to Glasgow and run.”

Near on a month after Rotterdam Klein along with Essendon’s Liam Adams was added to make it a full quota of marathon runners nominated by Athletics Australia for the Glasgow Games.

Since nomination training including hill climbs every Sunday in the Dandenong’s has been stepped up and the gradual build-up to longer distances before departing for Glasgow next month has included wins in the 13.5km Puffing Billy’s Great Train Race and last weekend’s victory in the XCR’14 Round 3 6km course a Brimbank Park.

“This was my first XCR event that I’ve won, so I went one better than I did last round, it’s always a tough start out there going up the hill, but I was able to settle in a bit as we got going and felt alright so it was good,” Klein speaking after winning at Brimbank.

“It’s all preparation for the Commonwealth Games, the marathon is the goal and the bigger picture so the races I do in the lead up to that are part of the plan and then hopefully by the time July 27 comes around I’ll be fit and ready to go.”

With a new found belief in competing at this level Klein will be quietly confident heading to Glasgow.

The nomination period has now closed for 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games and a joint announcement by Athletics Australia and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association will take place on Thursday 5 June regarding the final list of athletes to be included on the Australian team.