Athletes from throughout Australia are making tracks for Rye for the 45th annual Rye Gift Athletics Carnival on Saturday, January 12. A key lead-up event for the Stawell Gift at Easter, the carnival is run by the Rye Sports and Social Club — a not-for-profit community organisation made up of representatives of Rye’s football, cricket, netball, basketball, tennis and athletics clubs — to raise money for sporting equipment.
The two main races on the card are the men’s and women’s 120m Gifts; other events include the 70m Restricted, 70m Open, 400m Open, 800m Open, 1600m Women’s and Veterans’, and the 1600m Open. The program begins about 10.30am with the various heats being held until lunch at 12.30pm. During the break the Junior Rye Gift will be run, which is open to all registered Little Athletes. The finals of the main events will be held from about 5pm on, with presentations after each race.
As well as a full day’s racing, there will be a range of entertainment and activities to keep everyone occupied, including a jumping castle, face-painting, and stalls selling children’s clothing and toys. The various sporting groups that make up the club will also have stalls offering a range of drinks and food, including sandwiches and hamburgers, and an alcohol booth will be open from noon-6pm.
The club expects about 650 of Victoria’s finest runners will compete over the day, which traditionally attracts up to 4000 Peninsula residents and holidaymakers for a fabulous day of top-class entertainment both on and off the running track. There will be bookmakers on hand for those who enjoy a punt on four-legged runners racing in Melbourne and interstate, and you’ll even be able to bet on the Gift.