Yarham back to defend gift
FRESH from an impressive overseas performance, Ipswich runner Glen Yarham has nominated to defend his One Mile Gift title at the annual raceday on May 5.
Yarham finished 15th out of the 76 runners at the recent World University Cross Country championships in Poland. He ran 30.02 minutes against athletes from 22 countries.
Yarham, 20, was the second Aussie runner home, forming part of the national team which came sixth.
Before leaving Ipswich, Yarham was hoping for a top-10 finish, making a comeback from a knee injury last year.
He is believed to still be overseas competing.
However, the QT-City of Ipswich sportstar of the year is expected to line up again at this year's One Mile Gift at the Ipswich Turf Club.
"Pat Clohessy (Yarham's coach) will have him pretty primed up I reckon," said Queensland Athletics League secretary Steve Minns.
In an amazing effort, Yarham won last year's open handicap race as backmarker. That means he started from the back of the field and passed every other competitor to dash to victory.
A quality field is tipped for next week's open and youth (under-16) gift races.
Competitors in the senior event (1600m) are in line for a share of the $5000 prizemoney. It will be the seventh running of the event on the sand track inside the main ITC racing surface.
Junior runners (also over 1600m) are vying for a piece of the $500 prizemoney.
A new 300m sprint has been added to build on the event's growing reputation.
Ipswich and District Athletic Club president Vic Pascoe is thrilled the Queensland Athletics League (QAL) has introduced a sprint race for the first time.
"I assume the extra race will be running up the straight so it will be more exciting," Pascoe said.
"It will give the sprinters a chance to run, rather than middle distance.
"The event (annual Gift raceday) is building up a cult following. Everybody wants a bit of that prizemoney, which is quite enticing, a total amount of $6000."
Nominations for the three races close on Monday. The foot races are held in between gallop racing on the day.
Bookies will field bets on the One Mile Gift, creating more interest.
The annual event is supported by the Ipswich Hospital Foundation, QAL and Ipswich Turf Club.