Date: 24th March 2021

The AIA Vitality Invitational 3200m to include distance running stars Stewart McSweyn, Matthew Ramsden, Brett Robinson and Ryan Gregson

 Stawell, VIC, March 24, 2021: The AIA Vitality Invitational is a new race scheduled to feature alongside the famous Powercor Stawell Gift and Change Our Game Women’s Gift finals at the 2021 Powercor Stawell Gift on Easter Monday April 5.

Australia’s top distance runners, who are currently some of the best in the world, will compete for $6,500 prize money. Headlining the field will be distance star Stewart McSweyn who broke the Australian records in the 1500m, 3000m and 10,000m last year.

McSweyn is joined by emerging young gun Matthew Ramsden, half marathon record holder Brett Robinson, Commonwealth Half Marathon Champion Jack Rayner, Olympic finalist Ryan Gregson, David McNeill 10,000m Olympic finalist, and Commonwealth Games 1500m star Jordy Williamsz.

“This is the best middle-distance field in Australia coming together for a feature race at Stawell,” said Stephanie Spence, Chair of Stawell Gift Event Management.

AIA Australia, a leading life and health insurer, will be involved in this year’s event to help champion its vision for Australia to be one of the healthiest and best protected nations in the world. Its AIA Vitality offering is a digital, science-backed health and wellbeing program that supports customers to take small steps to lead healthier, longer, better lives.

CEO and Managing Director of AIA Australia and New Zealand, Damien Mu said “We are delighted that AIA Vitality has been able to be involved in this year’s Powercor Stawell Gift. Distance running in Australia is enjoying a renaissance and visitors to Stawell this Easter will be inspired by everyone involved”.

Stewart McSweyn has become one of the best runners in the world, breaking three records in the last year. He is hoping to not only win the AIA Vitality Invitational, but to set a world class mark for the 3200m distance on grass, in what will be his first time at the Powercor Stawell Gift. Coach Nic Bideau indicated an 8 minute 20 second time is possible.

“As a kid I followed the Stawell Gift and used to watch it on television. Some great names have raced at Stawell, so it will be really good to finally be a part of it. It’s the biggest athletic event on TV and I get to run there, it’s pretty cool,” said McSweyn.

“I know quite a few people who have run at Stawell and they all talk about the track and what awesome nick it is in for the Gift. I’m looking forward to it, my family from Tasmania are coming which will be special as they don’t normally get to watch me run in Australia. It’s not a bad way to spend Easter.”

McSweyn has already qualified for the Tokyo Olympics in the 5000m and 10000m and is a certainty for 1500m but says his favourite distance is the 3km or 2 mile. “It’s an in-between distance which for me is the sweet spot. I’ll be off scratch and going full tilt the whole way.” Stewart will be the backmarker of the race at the starting line and the other runners will be given handicaps according to their recent form.* 

McSweyn will be the backmarker for the event, off scratch, with Matthew Ramsden off 40 metres and Brett Robinson a further 15 Metres in front. The full field for the AIA Vitality Invitational 3200m Handicap, and their handicaps, includes:

Handicap Athlete Credentials
Scratch Stewart McSweyn Australian 1500m and 3000m Record Holder. Tokyo Medal Contender
40 Metres Matthew Ramsden Current Oceania 1500m Champion. 2nd fastest mile in World in 2020
55 Metres Brett Robinson 2016 Olympic Games 500m Finalist. Half Marathon Record Holder
60 Metres Jack Rayner 2018 Commonwealth Half Marathon Champion.
70 Metres Ryan Gregson 2016 Olympic Games 1500m Finalist (1st Australian in 40 years)
70 Metres David McNeill Olympic 10,000m Finalist. Multiple Australia 5K & 10K Champion
75 Metres Jordy Williamsz 2018 Commonwealth Games 1500m – 6th Place (1st Australian)
100 Metres Ben Buckingham 2019 Oceania 3000m Steeplechase Champion
110 Metres Joel Tobin-White Victorian 8km Cross Country Champion
180 Metres Adam Spencer 2021 Victorian 1500m Champion
200 Metres Tom Thorpe 2021 Victorian 5000m Champion
210 Metres Chris Dale 2021 Victorian 3000m Steeplechase Champion

An additional four Victorian Athletic League athletes may be invited to participate in this event.

The AIA Vitality Invitational 3200m Handicap will take place at 1.33pm on Easter Monday, April 5, 2021. Tickets to witness this race, and the three days of action at the Powercor Stawell Gift, are now on sale at Ticketek. 

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