One Mile Gift winner PJ Reeves (above) and 300m second placegetter Lachlan Inch (right). Photos: Claudia Baxter
One Mile Gift winner PJ Reeves (above) and 300m second placegetter Lachlan Inch (right). Photos: Claudia Baxter

Raceday thrills for all runners

IPSWICH visitor Lachlan Inch summed up the situation perfectly when he spoke about the benefits of Ipswich's annual One Mile Gift raceday.

While competing at Bundamba helped his training, the beach sprinter was equally delighted athletics was gaining more attention through the three handicap races.

The 20-year-old from Toowoomba didn't compete in last Saturday's Queensland Times One Mile Gift and was too old for the youth event.

However, he was keen to see the newly-added 300m handicap race continue after he finished second.

"I think it will be great," the former Toowoomba Grammar School captain, athlete and rugby player said.

"Getting everyone involved here, it's a big crowd. That's what you need for these running events to try and get a bit more popularity about it.

"We've got people about 60 years old and people still in school running.

"It's a way to bring everyone together."

Queensland Athletics League secretary Steve Minns was also thrilled how the annual handicap races are progressing. He was especially excited watching 58-year middle distance stalwart PJ Reeves beat the youngsters this year.

"The quality was very much there but I'd say a guy approaching 60 who can do what PJ Reeves just did, that was an amazing effort," Minns said.

"That gave me tingles.

"I didn't pick him.

"Nothing against age, I knew he was a tough runner but I didn't think he would have the speed to trouble those fast guys."

Minns said despite the handicap system, runners still had to prepare well to challenge for a slice of the $5000 open race prize money.

"Reevesy has done the work and kept out the young guys," Minns said.

"When it comes to handicapping, you want the guys that have done the work to be up there. You don't want anyone who has fooled the handicapper with a time they are far beyond able to do."

Minns said the addition of the 300m race improved the growing appeal of the raceday.

"The range of athlete is there," he said.

"The quality is there and also the interest in the bookmaking definitely adds a lot because there's a lot of talk around beforehand who they think will win.

"Sometimes as a handicapper, I'm even surprised at some of the people they're putting money on."

Sunshine Coast-based Minns has been with the QAL for 10 years.

He admitted the human mind and body made handicap racing extra entertaining.

"A bloke like PJ is not going to be affected by the mental strain because of all the running that he has done in his career," Minns said.

"He hit that 400m mark and said 'geez I've got a lot left' and that's where you want to be."

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