Former running heavyweight Tim Harris overcame a near disastrous navigational error on course to race away with the ten kilometre Stawell Sportspower Handicap last Saturday.
After training up to 80 kilometres a week in preparation for the Adelaide Marathon on August 14 Harris could be forgiven for settling into a trance-like rhythm in the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club race and missing a crucial turnoff in the Ironbarks just three kilometres into the event.
“I just didn’t see the markers on my left and started to go straight ahead rather than making the turn. I could have finished up back home in Horsham if the bloke behind me didn’t yell out that I was going the wrong way,” he said.
Harris had given up “barbecues and beer” and dropped more than 20 kilograms before his first win at Rupanyup in 2011. He then conquered the “hill of horrors” at Roses Gap in 2012 to win the toughest race on the club calendar.
But the 48-year-old Harris lapsed into old habits, lost the battle of the bulge that he had previously won, and had to start the hard slog all over again.
“I set myself goals, like half-marathons and marathons in Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road and that’s kept me focused.
“I’ve got good advice from wise old heads like Ray Rickard about training on hills, but I didn’t even think about winning today after 15 kilometres of steep hills at Troopers Camp (Rose Gap) yesterday.”
After a steady start, Harris got stronger as the race got longer and held a decisive margin in the end over fast-finishing backmarkers, Col Barnett and Mark Urquhart.
In the one kilometre Sub-Junior division of the race, consistent youngster Olivia Hunter held off determined chasers Kayla Membrey and Zephyr Tracey for a gallant win.
The club meets at Stawell’s Rifle Range Road this Saturday for the 10 kilometre Run for Ray Scott Memorial. Fun runners are invited to register before the 10am start.