THE Tasmanian Christmas carnivals could host a series of six races all offering national professional running titles.
The exciting proposal has been put forward by former athletics co-ordinator Rod Walker who wants the Latrobe, Devonport and Burnie clubs involved.
``Ideally Latrobe could run the Australian professional 70 and 120 metres' titles, Devonport would host the 300m and 400m races, and Burnie the 800m and 1600m titles,'' he said.
Walker has suggested that the races carry minimum prizemoney of $2000 and could attract some of the best sprint and distance runners Australia has to offer.
``We could lure back three-time Burnie Gift winner Josh Ross, and the distance races could attract Craig Mottram and Collis Birminham,'' he said.
Walker has already put his idea to Sports Carnivals Association of Tasmania boss Mike Gunson and intends contacting new carnivals promoter John Craven.
``Mike said he would like to see Australia's best women involved as well, and Sally Pearson, Melissa Breen and Zoe Buckland are some names which spring to mind,'' Walker said.
He said this year's Christmas carnivals would be an ideal time to launch the Australian professional titles.
``Next year is the Commonwealth Games, and our elite athletes will be looking to kick off their preparations,'' Walker said.
``If the series is well accepted, there is no reason why the national titles couldn't be held again next year and the year after.''
Walker said the appearance of some of Australia's best runners would help balance the carnivals which have already announced that top cyclists will be involved in a number of criteriums.
Walker has been athletics co-ordinator for the past three years and a committeeman of the Devonport Athletic Club for 10 years.
With no involvement in the overall carnivals this year, he said he would concentrate his efforts on promoting the two-day Devonport carnival and remained hopeful that the new promoters would look favourably on his plan to run the national titles.