It was a day of doubles, dominated by the girls, when the region’s running clubs got together for the inaugural Best’s Winery Cross Country Classic at Great Western last Saturday.
Kayleen Urquhart and Sharon Howen, who fought out the finish of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s five kilometre Stephen Baird Handicap the previous weekend, stunned club-mates by repeating their quinella over eight kilometres in the Best’s.
This was after the club handicapper had “dragged” both girls to tougher marks following recent wins. Despite the penalty, Urquhart’s winning margin stretched from a mere eight seconds in the Baird to 21 seconds on the scenic and undulating course at Great Western.
Her goals are to complete marathons in every state and territory of Australia within in the next three years.
In the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club’s section of the race, Sue Blizzard won for the second time in six starts this season; again a remarkable feat after being “penalised” by the handicapper her for her previous win.
Blizzard, whose daughter Sarah was the unlucky runner-up in this year’s women’s Stawell Gift, keeps on recording some amazing PBs (personal bests).
She stripped another two minutes off the PB of 44.33 minutes she managed only the week before, holding a 26 second margin over Chris Barwick to deny him his second win in four races.
Charlie Jones was just five seconds away in third place, enjoying his first visit to the podium this year.
Blizzard, a self-confessed “event junkie” is not only benefiting from the advice and coaching of her fast-flying daughter, but is getting fitter and stronger with every goal she sets herself.
She’s off to the Gold Coast next week to run a 10km in support of her friend and fellow club member Shevahn Healy who is taking on the half marathon.
Blizzard then has her sights set on Run Melbourne in late July.
For the record, neither Urquhart nor Blizzard gave themselves any hope of causing double trouble for their chasers.
Urquhart, 38, had never won a foot race in her life until the Baird and Blizzard, 41, who didn’t take up competitive running until 2012, is still very much a rookie in the Ararat club’s ranks.
Both clubs have byes this weekend, but return for races at over five and ten kilometres at Stawell next week. Details are on the club websites.