Female runners with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club are on the threshold of a record-breaking 13th win in a single season after Rachel Coverdale seized on her home track advantage to win the 10 kilometre Shane and Robyn Young Sportspower Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
Third in the Charlie Jones 16 kilometre Handicap earlier this year, Rachel showed her liking for the longer distances by warming into the Sportspower, picking her way through the field and stretching her winning margin to 43 seconds over 72-year-old phenomenon Gary Saunders after handicaps were applied. Meggy Boan, the club’s most consistent runner all year, ran yet another personal best of 44.43 to finish third.
It was Rachel’s second win in her rookie year after featuring in an all girl trifecta in the 6.5km Garry Rice Concongella Vineyard Handicap in June.
“I’m sure the fact that I train on the course once or twice a week helped me today as I knew it was more uphill than down and I had to save myself, ” she said. “It also helps that I hold Pump classes at the local YMCA so I pretty much get an all round workout which improves my stamina for the longer races.”
Rachel puts plenty of thought into planning a race, has learned how to race and accordingly her times over all distances have tumbled through the year. “The only thing different I did this week, knowing that a 10km was coming up, was to do fewer weights so there was less fatigue in my limbs.”
Gary, who seven weeks ago underwent a hernia operation and only recently resumed training, is a regular at Rachel’s classes. He was the male most likely to prevent a 13th win in the Ivan McDonald Big Hill Handicap tomorrow, which is the 21st race and the season finale.
The greybeard, however, confirmed that he would not be a starter because of euphonium duties with the Stawell City Brass Band at the weekend, meaning that the chances of the female juggernaut rolling on to another win are very much greater.
In the Sub Junior division of the Sportspower, Kayla Membrey gave size and strength to her older opponents but the handicaps worked in her favour and she was too nippy for the gallant placegetters, Ryan Greenhalgh and Michael Coverdale.