In the 45-year history of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club no husband and wife have ever fought out a finish – until Rick Price and Selina Heard-Price landed a unique quinella in the Chris Blake Championship at Stawell last Saturday.
The Horsham partners are first season newcomers to the club and had never before raced over three kilometres, the shortest distance on the 19-race SAAC cross-country calendar.
Both sought plenty of advice from more experienced runners before the race and clearly heeded what they heard as Rick swept to his maiden win, with Selina trailing him some 48 seconds behind on adjusted handicaps.
There was a distinct family flavour about the race. Patrick Ellis, who always engages in some friendly banter with wife Susie, before, during and after any event, earned bragging rights with his dogged third, while his partner, who likes her races much longer, had to settle for seventh.
Rick, who played football until he was 42, ending his career at Dimboola, has taken up running again because of his connection with Little Athletics in Horsham, where he is coaching track and field.
“Cross country running helps build up stamina and mental toughness,” said Rick, who formerly ran with Ballarat’s Eureka Club
“I’m enjoying the challenge of running over different distances each week and learning how to race. Selina loves it and she’s the one who keeps on pushing me to train and train harder.”
While the winning margin was fairly decisive, little more than a minute separated the next nine to finish. Club “quickie” Col Barnett could only manage thirteenth on handicap, but still recorded fastest time of 10 minutes 54 seconds, to take out the Open and Vets Championship points.
Susie Ellis took out the Open and Vets female Championship points.
Col’s daughter Elly won the junior division of the race from the consistent Tobias Blair, while Amy Greenhalgh out-sprinted her brother, Blair, to win the sub-juniors race.
By Keith Lofthouse