Ray and Doris Ellis 16km

Ray and Doris Ellis 16km

Race History

Both Ray and Doris Ellis were life members of the club and the Wirilda Park 16km and 8km Hill Runs were established in 2004 to replace the Mal Hill 16km and 8km runs conducted by the Gippsland Athletics Association. The Gippsland Athletics Association was the governing body over the Yallourn Newborough, Warragul, Morwell and Traralgon Harriers Athletic Clubs. The association ran a number of Local Championship races and it was each clubs responsibility to conduct several of these events each season. The event was originally just a 16km Road Championship with an 8km support event and was organised by the Morwell Athletic Club.

Richard Jeffrey tells me the race was named after Malcolm Hill, who died in a road accident aged in his early 20s, about 25-30 years ago. Malcolm and his family were involved in running in the Valley. Mal was a good runner, although his brother Rod was even better, running a sub 4 minute mile, Richard thinks. Laurie Hill, the father worked in Morwell and Traralgon, at the Tech schools and the Athletics Centre decided to name the run in memory of Malcolm. It originally ran from Morwell Football ground, out Mountain Hut road, toward Driffield, and back.

When Malcolm Hill a young runner with the Morwell Athletic club was tragically killed in a car accident the event was renamed. In 1976 a perpetual trophy for this event was established to carry the memory of this young Athlete. The event ran for 27 years until the Gippsland Athletic Association disbanded. The event was originally run close to the Morwell Township. In 1993 it was changed to the Tyers course in Fitzgibbons Lane. This made it a fairly tough race with a long hill climb included in the 16km. The times ran since 1993 were a lot slower because of this.

Below is a list of the 27 winners of the Mal Hill 16km Championships.

Previous winners

Table 25 Winners Mal Hill 16km Championships
YEAR NAME CLUB TIME
1976 G. Henry TRH 55:47
1977 J. Duck YN 53:55
1978 J. Duck YN 51:48
1979 P. O’Hare WGL 50:50
1980 G. Kipp MOR 53:33
1981 K. Green MOR 54:42
1982 J. Duck YN 51:28
1983 J. Duck YN 52:01
1984 K. Green MOR 51:36
1985 J. Duck YN 51:38
1986 R. Gilfillan GHY 50:55
1987 R. Gilfillan GHY 52:04
1988 R. Gilfillan GHY 53:37
1989 R. Gilfillan GHY 54:42
1990 K. Matheson TRH 52:41
1991 B. Sanders RAAF 54:10
1992 J. Duck TRAF 52:57
1993 M. Tucker TRH 55:42
1994 I. Cornthwaite TRH 56:36
1995 I. Twite TRH 60:09
1996 D. Cross TRH 59:20
1997 D. Cross TRH 58:15
1998 I. Twite TRH 60:28
1999 P. Wilson TRH 55:33
2000 J. Mackenzie TRH 60:02
2001 J. Mackenzie TRH 58:10
2002 Steve Quirk TRH 57:25

In 2003 little interest was shown by the Morwell Athletic club in continuing this event. In 2004 the Morwell Athletic club amalgamated with the Warragul Athletic club forming the Gippsland Athletic Club.

Bruce Salisbury from the Traralgon Harriers came to the rescue, however the race was not run in 2003 due to lack of interest from the Morwell Athletic club and the desire to find another tougher course with less traffic. Bruce decided to rename the event after two of the Traralgon Harriers life members Ray and Doris Ellis. They were a couple of tough competitors in their day he decided to find a tougher course than the Mal Hill course and give the race a complete makeover.

It was a very sad day for the club when Doris passed away on the 14th January 2016.

The Wirilda Park 16km Course

As seen in the course profile there is a significant hill climb with several steep downhills. Runners shouldn’t shy away from this though. As I have said before the secret to building a good solid stride is building muscle up in the right places and learning how to use it. Racing is the best way to build up muscle and running up hill does it better than anything else. You simply cannot run up hill without using the correct technique. Running downhill is another matter and a lot of runners find running downhill painful and hard on the legs. The simple truth is if you are breaking a lot running downhill then you are probably breaking a lot just running along the flats. Learning to master running downhill can go a long way to improving your stride. Good runners float downhill just like they float along the flats. This course also offers some spectacular views of the valley and surrounding districts. There is simply nothing boring about this run.

Figure 37 Course Profile Ray and Doris Ellis Wirilda Park

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