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Runners of all abilities will lace up for the 2022 Livelighter Mullewa Gift

Victor Tanti Geraldton Guardian
The LiveLighter Mullewa Gift is a professional running event that began in 1926. It is the highest value athletic event on the regional calendar and will see the return of big names this year to defend their previous titles.
Camera IconThe LiveLighter Mullewa Gift is a professional running event that began in 1926. It is the highest value athletic event on the regional calendar and will see the return of big names this year to defend their previous titles. Credit: Ben Crosthwaite/Supplied

The 2022 Livelighter Mullewa Gift will be the highlight of the annual Mullewa Agricultural Show this Saturday.

The Gift, successfully revived in 1986 after a 53-year break, is a handicapped 120m race that invariably produces an exciting finish.

Runners are assessed by their speed with faster competitors having more distance to cover than slower entrants who start ahead of them meaning age and gender is no barrier to winning.

The most famous nominee was dual Olympian Dean Capobianco who won in 1990 when he started off 0.75m. He won by 0.04 of a second from Mark Peters (12.5m) and Paul Vogl (14.5m) in a searing 12.46 seconds.

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The next year stewards pushed him even further back and he did not place, prompting him to complain he had been “weighted” out of contention.

The record known front mark for a male winner was in 2013 for Adriaan Pelser (25m) and he was only 13.

He won again in 2015 off 16.50m and in a faster time.

Speaking of front marks, Barry Kernaghan came off 40m in 2014 and finished second and if that sounds generous, bear in mind he was 74.

In 2001, Kylie Bent was the first female winner, since joined by Rebecca Carr in 2002, Julie Choate 2007, Sophie Watts 2014 and Eleanor Disselkoen 2017. Disselkoen was also 13 but a little older than Pelser.

In the field this year is defending champion Kyle Ennis who came off 2.75m last year and won in 12.60sec. Josh Hook, who was runner-up (8.5m) will aim to go one better.

Bryce Teo has also nominated after winning off 8m in 2018 with his sister Carryne second.

Other events include the novice handicap, a 70m handicap race, and the Geraldton Bendigo Bank 550m handicap.

Racing is expected to start before noon with the Gift after 4pm.

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