Anna Pasquali claims maiden Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap 400m title at Stawell Gift

AT LONG LAST: Wangaratta athlete Anna Pasquali claimed her very first win on Stawell Gift day on Easter Monday. Picture: BALLARAT COURIER

AT LONG LAST: Wangaratta athlete Anna Pasquali claimed her very first win on Stawell Gift day on Easter Monday. Picture: BALLARAT COURIER

After 20 years of trying, Wangaratta’s Anna Pasquali now has a win to her name on Stawell Gift day.

The veteran runner claimed her maiden Lorraine Donnan Women’s Handicap 400m title on Easter Monday.

Pasquali produced a time of 50.960 to win by almost two seconds from Kim McDonough and Jody Richards.

What made the win even more impressive was the fact she ran in the semi-finals of the main race, before backing up to win her pet event.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Pasquali said.

“I’ve been trying since 1997, which ironically is older than a lot of the girls I raced against.

“I’ve made the 400m final eight times and finished second four times and third twice.

“A few of the times I’ve been beaten by a bob on the line, so it’s nice to finally get it after all these years of hard work in a sport that I love.”

Pasquali said she has run quicker off a lesser handicap in the past and not won the event, but was impressed with how she performed.

“Any athlete from the Victorian Athletic League will tell you a Stawell win tops anything,” she said.

“It doesn’t matter what event or what race, a win at the Stawell Gift is what every youth athlete aspires to.

“It’s certainly at the top for me.”

She may not be the last Pasquali to win on the big day either, with two of her children competing in little athletics events at the Gift and her husband Wally making finals at masters level.

Pasquali said she was very sore the day after the run and is looking forward to enjoying a six-week break.