Making up for his poor season last year, Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner John Collins produced another strong performance last Saturday to score his second win for the season, taking out the 11 kilometer Trooper’s Camp Handicap.
Set over a hilly circular course from Troopers Camp in the Grampians, Collins pushed hard all the way, to finally out sprint an exhausted Axel Meumann and take out the handicap by only 3 seconds. An improving Glenn Squires, who ran most of the way with Collins, was a further 6 seconds back in third place.
Billed as the toughest run of the year, the pack of 21 senior runners started the sealed handicap together accompanied by the usual chatter and banter. Half a kilometer on and the group was silenced as they started working into the first hill. A steady climb over the next three kilometers quickly broke up the pack with the stronger runners breaking away.
The next two kilometers, the most difficult part of the course, was a climb so steep and uneven it reduced most of the field to a walk. However, Jade Merrett, who regularly trains in the area, surged clear, going on to record the fastest race time of 42 minutes, 32 seconds. Ilana Jorgenson was the fastest female in a time of 61 minutes, 55 seconds.
Susie Ellis, oblivious to the beautiful surrounds and the clearly marked course missed the vital turn up the steep climb, and continued on to the beat of her iPod, traveling a further two kilometers before waking from her trance and turning back. Not that the extra distance would worry her, just some extra training for the Iron woMan later this year.
In the junior 5 kilometer sealed handicap event, Daniel Faravoni set a fast pace from the start, running superbly to claim both line honours and the handicap section, just pipping Hugh Scott by 2 tenths of a second. Emma Kelly was a close third only 13 seconds behind Scott.
Faravoni was the fastest junior boy in a time of 19 minutes and 34 seconds. Emily Parnaby was the fastest junior girl with a time of 22 minutes and 28 seconds.
Liam Scott won the sub-junior 1 kilometer handicap. He was a clear winner from Elly Barnett in second place and Georgia Barnett in third. Scott was the fastest sub-junior boy in a time of 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Elly Barnett was the best sub-junior girl with a time of five minutes and 20 seconds.