NEXT month’s backmarkers mile at the Bendigo International Madison will carry some significant tags.
The winner’s purse of $3000 is the highest for the distance on the Victorian Athletics League circuit.
Flack Advisory has kicked in to provide $5000 for the mile (1609m) to be run on Sunday, March 10 at the Tom Flood Sports Centre.
The mile will honour the amazing feat achieved by Harry Downes when he ran 3:59.7 for the distance at the Bendigo Thousand meeting on March 10, 1963 at what was then known as the Bendigo Showgrounds, now Tom Flood Sports Centre.
Downes was the sixth Australian to beat the four-minute barrier for the mile, but the first in the world to do so at a professional athletics carnival.
The Hamilton athlete beat the four-minute mark in the mile twice and won from scratch in more than 40 races.
The Flack Advisory Backmarkers Mile on March 10 will include an extra $1000 should the winner break the four-minute mark.
Bendigo International Madison committee member Neil Macdonald said yesterday the backmarkers mile would be a major highlight on the athletics card at the athletics-cycling carnival.
“George Flack was keen to recognise the run by Harry Downes in Bendigo 50 years ago, so we are rapt he has upped his sponsorship so signficantly,” Macdonald said.
Home-track advantage has played a big part in the successful runs by Bendigo athletes in the backmarkers 1600m in recent years.
Winners of the great race on the Labor Day holiday weekend include Bendigo Harriers clubmates Brady Threlfall in 2009, and Josh Nolan in 2010 and 2012, and Bendigo University’s Andy Buchanan two years ago.
The Bendigo International Madison program includes the Black Opal 400m, the richest of its kind in Australia.
Macdonald said the finish line for all circuit races at this year’s Madison carnival would be moved 10 metres closer to the Goal Road end of the Barnard Street track.