SIR EDMUND Hillary conquered Everest, Joseph Stalin died, the Korean War ended, Queen Elizabeth II’s reign began, and Marilyn Monroe was on the cover of the first Playboy Magazine.
It was 1953 – and the year the Macksville Gift was born.
On Saturday, the longest continuously running professional foot race in NSW, will go around again, for the 65th time.
Gift president Owen Rushton said the milestone event – sponsored by Active – would be celebrated with a reunion dinner at Macksville Ex-Services Club on Friday, as a forerunner to the carnival the following day.
“Just this year we had the news that we were voted the best carnival by athletes across Australia. So we gazumped Stawell (Gift), Queanbeyan, Sydney … we did the lot,” Owen said.
This year’s event will be the same, but different.
The festivities will kick-off with a street parade through the heart of town at 11.30am, with the procession winding its way from Wallace St to Macksville Park.
Then the racing will get underway – with a variety of events for seasoned professional runners through to aspiring amateurs.
A new event will be a 4x100m relay open to teams from other sports – and the Macksville Falcons touch football crew will be one of the favourites.
Owen said the race track proper was in perfect nick.
“It could not be better compared to a couple of years back,” he said.
One of the highlights of the Gift will be the fireworks display – both before and after the headline final.
The carnival has a tradition of giving back to the community – “and we’re talking hundreds of thousands of dollars over the years to everything from the Catholic church at Nambucca Heads, through to the pool and hospital at Macksville,” Owen said.
“This was all on the back of a few gentlemen and stalwart families who had the vision to start this event.”
The Gift, with $5000 in prizemoney, will again attract some of the nation’s fastest athletes.
These include Patrick Hanna, brother of last year’s winner, Michael, Gary Finegan (3rd 2018 Stawell Gift), Mitchell Pateman (2nd last year), Liam Gander (two-time Macksville Gift winner), Tim Eschebach (Stawell Gift finalist in 2015), and brothers Tom and Jack Newman (Queanbeyan and Macksville Gift winners respectively in 2014).
Entry to the Gift is free and the community is encouraged to head along for a great day out.