Posted by Hopwood Wendy
Date: 10th April 2019
This year Arthur Ince will celebrate 50 years of competing at the Stawell Gift meeting as he takes off in the 100m Masters event and reflects on all those years including his first appearance at the famous Easter carnival in 1969, aged just 18 years.
“I am 68 years old now. I have always had a great passion to run at Stawell. The Stawell Gift is so special to me because of its great history. It is the equivalent of the AFL Grand Final, the ultimate of the season. Runners come from all around Australia and other countries to compete in this great event. There is a special atmosphere when you compete at Stawell in any event. Everyone wants to win a Final and it is the pinnacle of the season,” he said.
A large group of Arthur’s family and friends will be making the trip to Stawell to cheer him on. “There will be 12 of us in the family going to Stawell. It is great to have the family support. Some other family friends will be also coming up for the weekend too.”
Arthur is from Teesdale and retired from working about 3 years ago. He was working at Northern Bay College, Corio, as a parting cleaner and prior to that he worked at P&R Food Services as a delivery driver in Geelong.
The secret to Arthur’s longevity? “I usually train for running seven days a week and go to the gym five days a week. I also like to go for a walk in the evening to relax. I enjoy watching the grandchildren and other family members who are involved in different sports.”
Arthur’s Stawell Gift hero is the only back to back winner Bill Howard.
“I will keep running as long as I am competitive and the body holds together. I want to keep going to Stawell as long as I can.
“This year I am happy to achieve this milestone in my running journey over the years. This year will be sad because of the passing away of Maurice Campbell not long after the Stawell Gift meeting last year. He was a great friend.”
2018 was a successful year for Arthur which he puts down to the advice of friend and mentor John Hilditch who advised him to run more races which gave him the impetus he needed to improve so much that he won five out of the eight events he entered last year.
“It is great to be doing something I am passionate about. Over the years I have been dedicated, determined and motivated to keep going in a sport that is such a part of my life. The journey over 50 years has been fantastic. I have had my ups and downs, but always try and stay positive about the future and what it brings.”
As well as support from his family and friends, Arthur gains strength and motivation from his other family at the Waterworld gym in Norlane and puts his improvement in his fitness to the training he receives there. “The training has not only improved my strength, speed and my fitness level it has also helped me keep my weight down. The people in the gym are very friendly and keep you motivated, they take a lot of interest in how I am going in my running events.”
In 1998 Arthur won the 100 metres veterans Final at Stawell and he recalls it was a freezing day and he had been staying in a tent at the Grampians Gate Caravan Park with the family.
“This was on the Monday, when they had the heat, semi-final and the final on the same day. We decided to pull the tent down and pack it into a trailer before we went to the ground to compete. When I got to the ground I was talking to a couple of trainers and runners, who had seen us packing up the tent. They said you don’t expect to go well after doing that packing up at the park. We went down to the milk bar and got a coffee and donut before they ran the heats. I ran second in my heat. We came out and ran the semi-final and won my semi-final. I really didn’t expect to go that well. In the Final I thought to myself, beauty I have made a Final at Stawell, not expecting to win it. It was the first final I had been in at Stawell over all those years of competing.”
The Ince family returns to the Grampians Gate Caravan Park next week.
Photo by Neil Jameson.
Posted by Hopwood Wendy
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