VICTORIOUS at Maryborough seven years ago, Joel Bee is the backmarker for the 2020 running of the Max Martin Memorial Maryborough Gift 120m on New Year's Day.
Bee will be among many contenders for the blue riband sprint duel at the 159th edition of the Maryborough Highland Games.
The Ballarat sprinter will race off 0.75 metres in one of seven heats at the home of sport in Maryborough - Princes Park.
First of the Gift heats will be at 1.15pm as athletes vie for a slice of the $14,800 prize pool.
The lead-up to the final at 3.35pm includes two semi-finals.
Other sprinters to watch in the Gift include Gary Finegan, 2.5m; John Evans, 6.5m; Cam Dunbar, 10.25m; and 2019 champion, Rupert Lugo from the 8m mark.
Bendigo will be well represented across a range of short, middle and long distance running events.
The Burnett siblings, Lonain and Kirrily will mark another New Year's Day by racing at Maryborough.
Lonain will start from 22m and 52m respectively in the open 400m and 800m.
In 2019, Lonain was third in the open 800m at Princes Park.
Kirrily has a mark of 47m in the women's 400m.
An eight-time winner of the ladder climb at the state volunteer urban firefighting titles, Jackson Dargaville will show his sprint skill on the grass.
The star from the Kangaroo Flat Fire Brigade will race in the open 70m, restricted 120m and 400m.
Jacob Nolan has nominated for the open 400m and 800m, while Andrew and Josh Sait will contest the open 800m and 1600m.
Based in Sheppparton, Glenn McMillan will run in the open 1600m.
The in-form Michael Preece will start from the 105m mark in the open 1600m.
Experienced sprinter David Morrissey will race in the open 70m from 6.5m, the restricted 120m and masters 120m.
The Noden family will mark another trek to Princes Park.
Phil Noden has nominated for the open 800m, open 1600m and veterans 1600m.
Matt Noden will race the open 400m and open 800m, and Daniel Noden the open 400m.
In 2019, Matt Noden won the Sportzbiz-backed restricted 400m at Maryborough.
Sprinting ace Glenn Stephens holds the rare distinction of being a Bendigo Thousand 120m champion, and Black Opal 400m titleholder run at the Bendigo International Madison carnival.
A busy card for Stephens on New Year's Day includes the open 70m and 400m, masters 120m and 300m.
Athletes in the women's 120m include Ilana Grandine, 3.5m; Amie Mittiga, 4.25m; Liv Ryan, 5m; Isabel Long, 6m; Ebony Newton, 6m; Kayla Lemm, 6.25m; Hannah Lindstrom, 9m; Kirsty Stevens, 9.75m; and Narelle Lehmann, 14.25m.
First of the running events at Maryborough will be at 10am.
An entertaining program includes the Heavy Games, Axeman events, Pipe Band performances, Highland Dancing and more.
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