Three Canberra runners have advanced to the semi-finals for the men's and women's gifts at Stawell after heats held on Saturday.
Bradley Jones will run in the men's semi-final on Monday, trying to secure a spot in the final of Australia's richest footrace.
Lauren Wells ran the 8th fastest time overall to secure a spot in the women's semi-final, coming second in her heat with a 14.113 second time off a 2.5 metre handicap.
Clare De Salis won her heat and finished in 14.328 seconds off a 6.5 metre handicap.
Wells, who is yet to make a decision about competing at the Tokyo Olympics, has recently run some of the best times of her career, despite shifting away from competing full time to become a full-time primary school teacher.
In February, De Salis, 19, completed a wind-assisted 100 metres course in Canberra in 12.43 seconds.
Alexia Loizou ran the fastest time in the women's heats, advancing to the semi-final with a time of 13.856 seconds after a handicapped start of 5.75 metres.
National 200-metre champion Maddie Coates, who was the first athlete to start behind scratch since the gift went metric in 1973, made the semi-finals after she came second in her heat.
Isaac Dunmall was the fastest runner in the heats for the men's gifts, posting a finishing time of 12.531 seconds off a 4 metre handicap.
Wells ran second in her open 400 metres event, with a handicap of 45 metres she finished the course in 47.670 seconds.
"There's so much history [in Stawell], and it's just a wonderful atmosphere. ... I know that I'll be racing and having fun and I'll get to spend time with my squad and catch up with people I don't see except for that one time every year," Wells told The Canberra Times before the race.
Four-time women's gift finalist Sarah Blizzard missed out on a spot in the semi-finals, running 6th in her heat in a time of 14.968 seconds from a handicap start of 3.75 metres.
Blizzard ran second in her women's 70 metres heat, the first time she had entered the event, but missed out on a spot in the semi-finals.
Blizzard said she was disappointed she didn't make it through the heats in the gift following a tough mark. Blizzard said she hoped to work on her times in more meets around Victoria.
"I'm looking forward to watching Lauren Wells [in the gift and the 400 metres]. ... She's obviously running really well following her performances at nationals," Blizzard said.
Canberra running coach Matt Beckenham ran second in his masters' 100 metre heat in a time of 11.355 seconds off a 10 metre handicap.
Canberrans Tom Burbidge and Mel Breen are the only ACT locals who have so far won the prestigious race. Burbidge won in 2010 and Breen won off scratch in 2012.
Two-time gift winner Joshua Ross, 38, is one step closer to becoming the first person to win the race three times, making the semi-finals after winning his heat in a time of 12.688 seconds with a 2 metre handicap. Ross won the race in 2003 and 2005.
The finals for the men's and women's gift will be run at Central Park, Stawell on Monday.