The $5000 prize for the Nail Can Hill Run race record has been offered to the runner not considered eligible on Sunday – and now could be scrapped.
The Rotary Club of Albury West announced on Friday women’s record breaker Victoria Mitchell would be given the chance to claim “a $5000 women’s record prize”.
Mitchell, who criticised race organisers after her win for not having prizes for both the men’s and women’s records, has accepted the money.
A club statement said, “with the race record prize now claimed, the organising committee has agreed to remove it from the prize list for future years”.
But club president Stuart Abbott later told The Border Mail a final decision had not been made.
“The fact that the prize has gone means that it will be reconsidered or reviewed, but it’s unlikely that we will offer that again, I imagine, but it depends on a number of things,” he said.
The organising committee conceded some people might have believed there was a separate women’s prize because of the wording used.
Mitchell told The Border Mail she had thought on Sunday she was vying for $5000.
Mr Abbott said the special prize had been introduced last year.
“We acknowledge that we had our sights firmly fixed on the race record of Steve Moneghetti,” he said.
“It was purely an oversight.
“We acknowledge that no female was ever going to be able to break that record, so once we considered the facts, we realised the right thing to do was offer the prize to Victoria because she broke the female record.”
The president did not rule out the possibility of men’s and women’s record prizes being offered in the future.
“It certainly will be discussed along with all the other facets of running a race like that and trying to do the best for the community,” he said.
More than 1100 men, women and children took part in Sunday’s 42nd Nail Can Hill Run from Lavington to West Albury, with proceeds to be donated to Lifeline Albury Wodonga.
The organising committee said in the past eight years the Rotary club had donated more than $500,000 to locally-based charities.
“The Nail Can Hill Run was conceived as a community event and the Rotary Club of Albury West hope that this misunderstanding has not distracted from what is a truly great local event,” the committee said.
“They wish Victoria and all other winners all the best for their running future and look forward to seeing them again next year.”
Victoria welcomes reversal of fortune
Mansfield runner Victoria Mitchell said she’s delighted to accept the $5000 Nail Can Hill Run record prize.
“It’s really great that they recognised the record and made it equal,” she said.
“If they do want to do a race bonus, of course, yes, make it equal for both genders.”
Mitchell, a Commonwealth Games steeplechaser, took more than a minute off the previous women’s record in running the 11.3 kilometre course in 42 minutes, 46 seconds.
The cash prize represents the biggest payday of her sporting career.
“It really does help me in my sport, it helps me do all the training I do,” she said.
“It’s a massive support.”
Mitchell noted the $5000 special prize might now end.
“But it’s still great prizemoney, it’s a great event, I don't think it’s going to detract from further years,” she said.
“A big thank-you to the Rotary club and all the sponsors, let’s make it a good year next year as well.”