Cool but fine conditions greeted a good field of 30 senior runners, who lined up to tackle the new Community AXIS Handicap course at Haven, just south of Horsham.
Winding its way along the edge of a creek, the 5 kilometre course, although basically flat, had plenty of interesting twists and turns as well as some sharp dips through minor tributaries.
Carolyn Lehmann led the field away, and still led with 1000 metres to go. However, Steve Baird was not far behind, followed by Peter Hilbig, Stan Watson and Matt Faravoni. Further back in the field, Nathaniel Warren was working his way through the pack, and backmarker Jade Merritt was also charging home.
With 500 metres to go Steve Baird hit the front, chased by Matt Faravoni and Nathaniel Warren, but Baird just managed to hold on for victory by 4 seconds from Warren second, and Faravoni coming home for third.
Good handicapping saw the first 17 runners all finish with a minute of the leader.
Jade Merrett ran the fastest time of 18 minutes 14 seconds. Ilana Jorgensen was the quickest female in a time of 23 minutes 53 seconds.
Seven junior runners tackled an out and back 3 kilometre handicap. Emily Parnaby put in some early distance between herself and Emma Kelly, which she maintained throughout the race, crossing the line first. Kelly was second with Nat Watson third.
Fastest junior time went to backmarker Daniel Faravoni, with a race time of 12 minutes 20 seconds. Fastest junior girl was Emily Parnaby in 13 minutes 21 seconds.
The sub-juniors ran a 1000 metre out and back handicap, with Somer Darnell putting in a very good run to come home first. Georgia Barnett was second, and Elly Barnett third.
Elly Barnett also posted the fastest sub-junior time of 4 minutes 54 seconds, and Liam Burns was the fastest sub-junior boy with 6 minutes 4 seconds.