Athletes share $2000 winnings with Ipswich club
CLAY Dawson's incredible 100km Australian title triumph capped a wonderful weekend for Ipswich athletes.
The Rosewood State High art teacher returns to school on Friday having taken a short break to contest the national event in Wangaratta.
He won in record time just hours after the NANCI Running Squad he helped develop won "Team of the Year'' at the City of Ipswich Sports Awards.
The NANCI squad has donated its $2000 winnings to the Ipswich and District Athletic Club to help other competitors with expenses as they chase their sporting dreams.
The NANCI squad includes Jude Thomas, who was named Junior Sportsperson of the Year and who regularly competes for the Ipswich club and St Edmund's College.
"It's unbelievable,'' Dawson said of the latest surge in athletics successes.
"When they read out the NANCI squad and Jude (as award winners), you could have bowled us over.
"We legitimately didn't really think we had too much of a chance. It was pretty incredible.''
However, having NANCI squad captain Paul Shard donate the winnings to a strong community club highlights how much the runners enjoy their sport and want to help others advance.
Dawson said Ipswich ultramarathon ace Shard was among those he chatted to before attempting his latest 100km mission.
"I did talk to a lot of people I respected . . . . and Shardy was definitely one of the people. He was definitely very supportive and gave me a lot of mentorship,'' Dawson said.