Macksville Gift looks to new era

The Macksville Gift attracts some of the fastest runners from across Australia
The Macksville Gift attracts some of the fastest runners from across Australia

THE MACKSVILLE Gift – an annual one-day carnival of events centred around professional sprint racing – is on the verge of a new era.

Last year was the 65th running of The Gift – and its rich heritage is founded in the fact that it is the longest running professional foot race in NSW.

That milestone event in 2018 will though prove something of a swansong for a number of long-serving volunteers who have decided to stand down from the executive so that some “fresh blood” can have a go.

Gift president Owen Rushton OAM is one of those who will take a step back – and he’s keen for some interested community members to step up and help shape the 2019 event.

To that end, The Gift’s annual general meeting will be held at the Macksville Ex-Services Club from 6pm on Monday, February 18.

Owen Rushton gets to stop traffic on the old highway ahead of the street parade

Owen Rushton gets to stop traffic on the old highway ahead of the street parade

“We are dearly hoping that some new people from the community will come to the AGM and put their hand up to be part of the leadership group,” Owen told the Guardian.

“Over the years The Gift has enjoyed the loyal support of the local businesses houses, so raising the money to stage the event isn’t really a problem – we just need some workers to help organise things.”

While The Gift athletic races are a headline – there are a host of other affiliated events on the day, including a street parade through the heart of Macksville, the world championship banana hurl, the Gift Princess competition, live music, fireworks and dance performance.

“And a new committee will be encouraged to put their own stamp on the day. They may like to tweak events or add brand new things,” Owen said.

“This will be a great opportunity for people to get onboard with fresh ideas and energy.”

The Gift attracts runners from across the Eastern seaboard, and after each event – in the tradition of the carnival – monies are disbursed to local charities.

The iconic finishing gates at The Gift

The iconic finishing gates at The Gift

As a result of last year’s Gift, the committee resolved to support the following community groups:

$1000 to Valla Beach Rural Fire Service (Gift Princess request)

$200 to Bowra Phoenix (Princess request)

$1000 to Nambucca Cancer Support (committee decision)

$1000 to Nambucca Palliative Care (committee decision)

If anyone would like some background information on what’s involved in running The Gift, they can call Owen on 0427 105-040.

So save the date – and get along to the Ex-Services Club at 6pm on Monday, February 18.

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