Our favourite Gaynor Radovic learned a valuable tactical lesson recently when she travelled to Melbourne to take on some of the best performed cross country runners in Victoria in the Caruana Classic over eight kilometres, held on May 20th.
By her own admission, the veteran campaigner had “no chance” of winning, but she led the rich handicap event at historic Woodlands for over three kilometres from her front mark and hung on grimly to record her best time over the distance in four years.
Toughened up by that experience against classy opposition, Gaynor ventured to Rupanyup six days later and raced with steely determination to win the Tylers Hardware Handicap over 7.2 kilometres at her first attempt.
“I knew I was going to get steamrolled in Melbourne but I thought it was the right thing to do because the club (the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club) was invited and the sponsors had put up nearly $2000 in prizemoney,” the big-hearted Gaynor said.
“As it turned out, I think the race did me the world of good. It was a very strong field and it boosted my confidence to run faster than I have in a very long time.”
“I also have to pay tribute to Kelsey Weight, my personal trainer, who has worked wonders in improving my core strength in over six months of gym work. I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Coincidentally, runner-up Keith Lofthouse was another who seemed to have benefited from a gruelling workout in the Caruana, conceding six minutes to Gaynor on handicap and getting to within 22 seconds of her at the finish.
“That takes nothing away from Gaynor’s effort,” Keith said, “because the Tyler’s at Rupanyup is my favourite race; I always go well here and I really thought I could win it.”
Gaynor’s win continued the remarkable run of success enjoyed by our fine female members in club events this season. “The fairer sex” has won five of the seven races to date, but perhaps even more remarkably, Gaynor is the first “home town” winner of 2012, as our friends from Horsham and Rupanyup have been dominant.
The most consistent Sharon Howden maintained her outstanding form this season by finishing third for the third time, and that followed a win and a fourth earlier on.
Col Barnett scooted over the flat and fast course in 28.42 to record his fourth consecutive fastest time.
In the hotly contested Junior division of the race Rain Mackley and Paris Panozzo fought out the finish in very slick time, while Cella Atherton had a comfortable win over the Scollary sisters, Armani and Chanel in the Sub-junior event.
By Keith Lofthouse