Col Barnett, one of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s most decorated runners, recorded one of the most satisfying wins of his long career in the ten kilometre Run for Ray at Stawell last Saturday.
“I’ve been for five years, I’m running a minute quicker than I did last year and I’m enjoying my running,” the fifty-four-year-old said.
Barnett has started in every race on the club’s 2017 calendar , something he has not being able to achieve for some years due to a succession of niggling injuries that have brought premature ends to his season.
“They key has been not to train as hard as I have in the past. I was down to just 20 kilometres a week and having plenty of rest. I’ve built that up to 30 only because I’m race fit and running with more confidence,” he said.
He did have a stroke of fortune at the weekend when Vicki Tyler and Sharon Howden, the pre-race favourites who travelled with him down from Horsham, were accidentally waved off course and ran a kilometre further than required.
Even the evergreen runner-up, the seventy-five year old Gary Saunders, came unstuck when he failed to see orange markers and also strayed “out of bounds.”
Barnett’s 20 second winning margin may have flattered him but no one begrudges the fastest runners a win because under handicap conditions they have to give everyone else a start.
The race is held in memory of Ray Scott, a past president of the club, who died tragically while on a training run in the Ironbarks in 2010.
“I’ve always enjoyed this race,” Barnett said. “It’s one of my favourites on the course that Ray liked to train on.”
Improving youngster Miles Membrey enjoyed a muddy jaunt in the Sub Junior race to defeat Olivia Hunter and Kayla Membrey in the one kilometre dash.
The seniors face an endurance challenge in the Stawell Ironbarks this Saturday in the 16 kilometre Stephen Baird Handicap on a spectacular figure-eight course. Fun runners are welcome.