Peter Barham broke through for his first race win since 2013 with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club last Saturday and then was embarrassed to accept his prize.
“I don’t know if I deserve this,” the Stawell insurance broker said sheepishly after the five kilometre Mitre 10 Handicap. “I haven’t run in enough races! I haven’t been this embarrassed since I won my own (sponsored) race in 2010!”
Since winning the Run For Ray Scott on a treacherous course at Roses Gap in 2013, Barham has been an infrequent starter…only nine starts from a possible from one hundred club runs since 2015 when he missed the entire season due to persistent hamstring problems.
But despite Barham’s misgivings, those nine runs over an extended period time meant that the handicaps finally came to work in his favour, albeit narrowly enough to have a four second margin over the ever-improving Naomi Hunter at the finish, with the consistent Nathan Baker a further four seconds back in third place.
Thanks to his wife Barb, Barham had denied himself a second glass of wine the night before the race, which might have made the difference between him winning and losing.
“I was just about to enjoy a second glass when Barb, who had seen the Mitre 10 promoted on Facebook, reminded me that I had a race scheduled for 10 am. I’m pretty certain I’ll catch up with that tonight now,” he grinned.
The sixty-two-year-old veteran also paid tribute to his rescue dogs, Milly and Rolly, his companions on a 3.8 kilometre run up to five times a week on the sandy trails beside the Stawell Rifle Range.
“I have to do it. They (the dogs) wouldn’t have it any other way. But I couldn’t imagine sitting around doing nothing, which we all know can’t be good for you.”
The race proved to be a triumph for the club handicapper with just 0.37 minutes separating the first six runners to finish. The Sub-Juniors race was even tighter. Henry Dunn won by the narrowest of margins over Blayze Kenny, but the ninth youngster to finish was only 0.27 seconds from the winner.
The club returns to the Ironbarks this Saturday for the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap. Runners of all ages are invited to meet at the North Park Clubrooms from 9.30am.