Living Choice Broadwater Court resident John Hayes (87) has reached a remarkable milestone, achieving his goal of swimming a total of 100,000 laps of the Waterfront Estate indoor heated pool.

Colin Kendrick, Editor of the Carrak Coffee Club newsletter, said John had an excellent record of achieving results. “John entered the world of professional running at an early age. It all started when, as a promising AFL Footballer, he trained in the off season to gain extra pace. He improved quite rapidly and his speed increased markedly. This led to John entering The Stawell Gift, the world’s foremost professional foot race.”

On 20th April, 1954 it was reported in the Melbourne Argus newspaper that John had won the prestigious race, winning 750 pounds sterling. He won by a yard and it was the fastest time since 1938 when Jack Grant won the classic race. Colin said John was from the bush and was not prepared at all for the flock of young girls asking for his autograph!

John received many telegrams, which he has in an album together with newspaper cuttings of the event. He also has letters inviting him to train at the Melbourne Football Club and Geelong Cricket and Football Clubs. In January 1954, he was also invited to train and play with Essendon Football Club.

John’s many letters show his professional approach to sport was well recognised. He accepted the post of coach at Chiltern Football Club and after several years he took up a post at Rutherglen Football Club.

John had a nickname, “Big Jack Hayes”, and if you look at the photographs from 1954 he was certainly a formidable athlete. In 2008 John attended a reunion of 16 previous winners of the Stawell Trophy which even today, is called the most celebrated event in the history of Australian sports events. In 2016 the event is 135 years old and the prize money exceeds $40,000.

Colin said John had always recognised the benefits of exercise to keep fit. “At 87 he is a beacon in our Waterfront Estate.”

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