Despite the annual Stawell Gift celebrating its first year of prize money equality, the 2015 female winner says it’s all about the sash.
At just 15-years-old, Grace O’Dwyer crossed the line in disbelief after clocking a winning time of 13.40 seconds at the iconic three-day Easter carnival.
Only just sneaking into the final as the slowest of six qualifiers, Grace raced off the 10.25-metre mark and lunged on the line in front of hot favourite Anna Pasquali.
Grace said that after months of training she was feeling the nerves prior to the final, however knew exactly what she had to do.
“After the semi I didn’t think I had made it and I was pretty upset, so I really had to settle down but I obviously wasn’t the favourite, so that had taken off a lot of the pressure,” she said.
“I knew I could do it I just had to run the best race ever and I did”.
Grace pocketed the winners’ cheque of $40,000,which marks the Stawell Gift’s first year of parity in men and women’s prize money, however said the money wasn’t important.
“Obviously the prize money is exciting, but really it’s all about that sash and the fact that I actually won the Stawell Gift,” she said.
“I still don’t think it’s actually sunk in, I trained so hard for months and I would do it all again in a heart beat.”
Grace is trained by her father Peter O’Dwyer, himself a 28 time Stawell Gift competitor, making the final twice and the semi-final on 17 occasions. Her mother Barb (nee Frawley) is from Bungaree and her uncle (Brian Frawley) and cousin Tony, were long distance runners at previous Stawell Gift carnivals.
First appeared in The Moorabool News, on April 14 2015