SGEM Board Member Profile: Neil Brennan

Date: 6th March 2023

Stawell Gift Event Management member Neil Brennan believes it is vital to continue to build on the success of the Powercor Stawell Gift and its importance in Australian athletics. 

“The historical significance of the Stawell Gift is something we should all celebrate but it cannot be used as a reason to not provide a better event for athletes, spectators, sponsors and officials each year,” said Neil, who sees his role as being to foster continuous improvement.

“The event offers a unique opportunity for an athlete who turns up on the day in their absolute best shape to win their chosen event, on a stage steeped in history. Whether that’s Cathy Freeman, Josh Ross, Little Athletics kids or seasoned regulars in the Masters events, those who race to their best have the chance to add their name to over 140 years of tradition,” he added.

Neil sees 2023 as the year that will see new talent make an impact, following two years of difficult circumstances.

“This year presents an exciting opportunity for younger runners to emerge and become household names. The 2021 and 2022 VAL seasons have been heavily impacted by the uncertainty of Covid and I believe with a full season of lead up racing will help athletes to prepare with certainty. This will lead to the emergence of some exciting new names in the sport.”

A director at chartered accountancy firm William Buck, Neil has placed 11 times at Stawell over distances from 100m to 1600m. He was a winner at Stawell over 550m in 2000 and the 800m in 2015. He also won the Brue Walker perpetual trophy in 2011 and 2015.

The 1997 Australian under 18 800m champion continues to compete “but at a reduced level.”

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