The Gift is the most prestigious professional footrace in Australia. The handicap event over 120 meters saw Williams start off eight meters, and catch the field just on the line, finishing in 12.11 seconds. The handicap concept aims to have all runners theoretically cross the line at the same time. The handicapper works out what mark or handicap the runner will have according to their previous performances. For Williams, this meant a measure of luck and skill came together on the day.
Williams has writing his name into the history book of the Gift. It has a long list of champions dating back to 1878. The Gift has also seen a host of international and Olympic athletes. Four Australian Olympians have won the Australia Post Stawell Gift. In 1990 Dean Capobianco (1992 & 1996 Olympics), 1991 Steve Brimacombe (1996 Olympics), 1992 Andrew McManus (2004 Olympics) and 2003/2005 Joshua Ross (2004 Olympics). Ross, in 2005, created history by becoming just the second man to win the event from scratch.
The Stawell Gift has grown into an icon of Australian sport. One thing that has also grown is the prize money. The first Gift winner, Bill Millard, won £20. Williams walks away with $40 000. Money this former national beach sprinting champion appreciates, as he supports his mother who is battling with cancer.
The Stawell Gift experience is a mix of history and tradition. It is one all sprinters want to win. Mitch Williams now becomes part of this whole experience.
Well-Being Australian theologian points out that the Stawell Gift is run over the Easter celebration. Easter is a time in which we thank God for the greatest gift that has been secured for us: a restored relationship with God. The Bible reminds us of this gift (Ephesians 2:8), "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faithâ€"and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." While the athletes at the Gift must train hard, our restored relationship with God is a free undeserved gift (grace) from a loving God. This is a gift worth experiencing.