Two-time Olympian Lauren Boden is urging event organisers to salvage the magic of Australia's richest footrace and avoid an "incredibly sad" final chapter.
The Stawell Gift is in danger of collapsing after club members knocked back a $1.4 million cash injection from the Victorian government to save it.
A long-term financial rescue package and the proposal of a management overhaul designed to secure the historic event's future was opposed by the Stawell Athletic Club.
The Victorian government's proposal came after a $138,000 injection allowed the race to be run this year, with future funding hinging on changes to event management.
Boden says the Easter weekend carnival is one of the highlights of her year as she sets her sights on returning in April.
The 400m hurdler will target the Gift following another national championship tilt which doubles as an Olympic Games qualifier.
"It is the big event on the pro running calendar so it would be incredibly sad to see it go," Boden said.
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"People who are involved would obviously know how much honour, prestige and history is attached to it. I'm sure they would be doing everything they could to try to keep it going.
"It is hard sometimes, when you've had stalwarts running these kind of events and they're reluctant to want to change or take on board new advice.
"At the end of the day, if we can focus on the event and continuing the magic that is the Stawell Gift, it's going to be a win-win for everybody.
"It's hard maintaining something that has got so much prestige and over 130 years of history there. At the same time it makes you hope people will support it.
"It's one of those events where you can't really explain to people why it is so special unless you actually go there.
"That's why [coach Matt Beckenham] and our squad have always tried to support it as much as we can."
Club patron Luke Versace resigned following the decision and has warned the 120 metre handicap race will die should officials continue to go down a path of perceived self-interest.