Date: 27th March 2018

  • Scottish 100/200m champion Stacey Downie “used to running on grass”
  • US hurdler and football star Devon Allen is registered

March 27 2018, Stawell VIC: Six-time Scottish champion sprinter Stacey Downie will arrive in Stawell on Saturday to compete in the Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap 400m and the TAC Jack Donaldson 200m.

The 30-year-old PE teacher from Edinburgh thought it made sense to swing by Stawell on the way to the Commonwealth Games, where she is spectating as she missed out on a spot in the 4x400m relay by 0.3 sec.

“I’ve entered because it’s very good timing. I’ve got this free weekend before the Commonwealth Games as we’re (Stacey and boyfriend Callum) coming across for that.  I’ve loved the event because of the atmosphere, when the finals are on its such a big event it’s on TV.

“Handicapped running is not based on how well you run on times, but how well you run off your mark, so for me it’s a bit more competitive and that’s why I’m looking forward to it.”

No stranger to grass running, Stacey grew up training on grass as “we didn’t have a running track”.  However, she appreciates the pristine condition of the Central Park track at Easter,  which the Stawell Athletic Club is extremely proud of and is renowned for throughout the professional running world.

“Pro running is popular in Scotland but our grass isn’t as good as your grass – it’s very bumpy and often run with horses on it.  I’ve always run in these events but the Stawell Gift is special.”

Stacey competed in the Stawell Gift in 2005.  “I was only 17 and I made the semi-finals of the 120m and the finals of the 400m.  It was the year Josh Ross won his second Stawell Gift and I would love to see him again.”

Stacey was originally from West Linton, a small town in Scotland where no less than three members of the Commonwealth Games team hail from.

Stawell Gift afficianados will recall Scotsman George McNeill who famously is the only person “to win both of the most famous professional footraces in the world – the New Year Sprint (1970) in Scotland and the Australian equivalent – the Stawell Gift (1981).” Wiki  

After several attempts at Stawell, McNeill returned in 1981 for the 100th Stawell Gift. Running off 4.0m and in one of the most exciting races ever, McNeill ran brilliantly to win the Gift at his ninth attempt in the time of 11.9secs.[7] McNeill still remains the oldest winner of the Stawell Gift, another record 37-year-old Josh Ross could take if he wins this year.

George McNeill’s win at Stawell can be seen here:

Stacey said she was the favourite to win the New Year Sprint “a couple of years ago but had acquired a hamstring injury.”

Devon Allen, the American college footballer and Olympic hurdler who is currently in Australia, will compete in the Stawell Gift as a wild card entry.  He won both the Devonport Carnival 200m in December and the Sydney Grand Prix this month.

Three days of action-packed racing, activities and entertainment make up the 2018 Stawell Gift Carnival. The off-track action is headlined by Fashions on the Field which takes centre stage on Easter Saturday (March 31) with $2500 in prize money and gifts up for grabs. Easter Sunday is Cadbury® Family Day at Stawell with The Cadbury® Easter Egg Hunt headlining a fantastic schedule of child-friendly activities including an athletics clinic, an animal nursery and plenty of other organised fun for the kids.
Tickets can be purchased online in advance of the Stawell Gift here. Adult concession tickets start from just $12, while Child tickets are free on Cadbury® Family Day.

The 2018 Stawell Gift will be broadcast on Channel 7 from 11.30am – 2.30pm AEST on Monday April 2.

For further information, please contact Jane Owen at 360 Sport and Entertainment on 0407936005/ 

About the Stawell Gift

The Stawell Gift Carnival is one of Australia’s most iconic sporting events, which incorporates the famous 120 Metre handicap foot race known as the Stawell Gift. Run on grass, athletes are handicapped according to form and ability and start off varying marks accordingly. Competitors in the men’s and women’s 120 Metre Gifts compete for a massive $40,000 first prize each as well as a place in Australian sporting folklore. 2017 winners were Matt Rizzo and Liv Ryan. The Stawell Gift is conducted each Easter in Stawell, Victoria. The 2018 carnival will take place from Saturday March 31 – Monday April 2, 2018. More information is available at











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