Melinda Gainsford-Taylor

Melinda Gainsford-Taylor AM is one of the truly great runners of Australian athletics history.

In the 2017 Australia Day Honours List Melinda was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). For her significant service to athletics as a sprinter, at the national and international level, and as a role model for young athletes.

Melinda is a three time Olympian and is the current Australian Record Holder in the 200m. Melinda also held the Australian Record in the 100m, for some 20 years, until it was recently broken by Melissa Breen.

Since retirement Melinda has been a National Selector for Track and Field and involved in extensive media and corporate work. Melinda also conducts athletics coaching clinics around the country to inspire young children to pursue their dreams, coaching kids from all sporting codes to help them with explosive speed and is currently expanding this business into local sporting clubs and schools.

Melinda ran her first half marathon on the Gold Coast in July 2011. But most importantly Melinda’s biggest achievement has been becoming the mother of two beautiful children, Nicholas and Gabriella and lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with husband Mark Taylor. She is proud to be a Beach2Beach Ambassador for 2021.

Tom Carroll

At the age of eight, Tom first stood on a tiny Coolite. Twice champion of New South Wales and twice winner of the prestigious Pro Junior (1977 and 1980), he joined the IPS World Tour in 1979. After a steady rise Carroll locked into the top five in 1982 and dominated the 1982 World Cup at eight-to-ten foot Sunset. Winning three consecutive events and becoming the first goofyfoot to earn a professional world title.

In 1985, he took a personal stance against South Africa’s policy of apartheid, contributing to the loss of his title to Curren. Carroll’s boycott of the South African events established him as a freethinking leader, and this inspired other pros to join his cause.

By the late ’80s, while fighting to reclaim his lost title, Carroll became the acknowledged master in Hawaii. His ascendancy at Pipeline from finalist in his first attempt in 1979 to the first three-time Pipe Masters champion.

During Carroll’s 14-year tenure on the world tour, he racked up 26 victories (third behind Curren and Kelly Slater), finished in the top five a record nine times and never wavered as the most powerful surfer on earth.

Today Carroll is a facilitator of the Vedic Meditation technique and still thrives on his engagement with the ocean on a daily basis no matter what type of conditions prevail or time of year out may be. Becoming an ambassador for the Beach2Beach shows his strong ties with the local community.

Jenny Wickham

Multiple past Beach2Beach winner Jenny Wickham, has been appointed as Ambassador for the Beach2Beach Charity Fun Run & Festival.

Jenny has run distances in competition ranging from 3,000 metres to full marathons, a three-time winner of the NSW Half Marathon and was crowned Australian Marathon Champion in 2004. In 2008 she ran her Personal Best time for the marathon of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 22 seconds. In 2012, at 37 years of age, Jenny claimed the prestigious Athletics NSW Female Distance Runner of the Year award. She had to win the last race of the season – the NSW Marathon – to win the title and duly delivered. (The lady can run!)

This year Jenny will be competing in her “14th or 15th“ Pub2Pub/Beach2Beach – (it’s hard to keep track when you’ve done so many). She’s already won the main event, “8 or 9 of the times I’ve run”. Most recently, Jenny has won the 13km Dee Why to Newport event in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2017.

“I love the Beach2Beach”, says Jenny. “I’ve run a lot of events both here and overseas, but nothing has the community feel of the Beach2Beach. And yet with the beach start and hills it’s still a very challenging course. I also love the way it raises so much money for many worthy charities while teaching young runners like my kids the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle and being part of their local community.”

Jenny will add to her long list of Beach2Beach appearances this year, with her two eldest children (daughters aged 19 and 17) likely to join her in the 13km event. Her two younger children (14 and 9) will probably run the 6km event with their dad, so the 25th of August will be very much a case of ‘the family that runs together, has fun together’ for these guys.

Steve Menzies

Local sporting legend, Steve ‘Beaver’ Menzies, has again accepted an invitation to remain a Beach2Beach Ambassador. Steve joins newly appointed Ben Said and long-time Ambassador, former World Ironman Champ., Guy Leech.

Steve is of course one of the greatest players ever to wear the maroon and white of the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. The 180 tries he scored for Manly remains the third highest total ever in the history of Australian first grade rugby league… and of course, it must be remembered that Steve played the bulk of his career in the forwards!

In total, Steve played 510 first grade, State of Origin and Test Matches, scoring an incredible 251 tries. When invited to be part of Beach2Beach he said: “I always wanted to run in this great event, but it was always held ‘in season’ when I played for Manly… and then I went overseas to finish my career. Now I’m back and am thrilled to again be an ambassador for the largest annual community event held on the northern beaches. And this year I’m running! (After all I have to beat Cliffy’s effort last year when he ran the 3km pushing his grandson in a pram!)” Join the Sea Eagles Team and run with Beaver or Cliffy to raise funds for the Avalon Youth Hub.

Guy Leech

Guy Leech is a former Australian Ironman surf lifesaving champion who also won the World Ironman Championships as well as the World Ocean Paddling Championship in Hawaii. He won seven Uncle Toby’s Super Series races and twice won The Coolangatta Gold and then the Uncle Toby’s version of that famous event, titled the ‘Gold Coast Gold’, after the sport had become professional.

During his entire career, Guy remained undefeated over surf’s toughest event. He was once dubbed Australia’s Fittest Athlete by the Australian Institute of Sport. He has been a valued Ambassador of the Beach2Beach for almost a decade.