AUSTRALIA’S national broadcaster is set to immortalise Colac district athlete Cliff Young on film.
ABC has announced Clock End Films will produce Cliffy, a telemovie about the 61-year-old farmer’s victory in the 1983 Westfield Sydney to Melbourne ultra marathon.
Cliff’s brother Sid, who lives in Colac, welcomed the idea of a telemovie.
“It’s pretty well-known around our generation in any case – the young ones wouldn’t know what it was, I suppose,” Mr Young said.
“It won’t do them any harm,” he said.
Mr Young said two researchers from America visited him last month for a guided tour of Cliff’s favourite places in Colac and district.
“We’d just thought it was all over but there’s still life and interest according to the chaps that came up here,” he said.
Mr Young said he had great memories of Cliff, who died from cancer in 2003.
“It was a great effort for anyone that age to do that,” he said of the marathon.
“I like a bet on the horses and before that run, he said ‘if you could get a bet on me, I’d be a pretty good thing’.”
Cliff’s training partner Mike Tonkin said a telemovie would “be nice for their family”.
Mr Tonkin said Cliff and Sid had the reputation of being the fastest potato-pickers in the Otways.
“He was a special man and I think there’s a lot of us in Colac who have got pretty special memories of him,” Mr Tonkin said.
“We didn’t know anything about how to run a race but there were I think 14 in the race and he knew he was pretty good,” he said.
“We didn’t expect him to win but we didn’t expect him to be the worst either.”
Cliffy director Dean Murphy said the film crew would visit Colac to film parts of Cliff’s life.
Murphy said he had “great support” from Cliff’s family and running colleagues while researching the telemovie.
Colac Otway Shire mayor Stephen Hart said it would be “appropriate” to film parts of Cliffy in Colac and district.
“There’s quite a few people around who could provide useful information about that time,” Cr Hart said.
“I can remember watching bits of it on TV at the time and his determination was quite amazing really,” he said.