Sharon Howden beat the odds by beating the handicapper to post back to back wins with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club last Saturday.
The Horsham-based runner paid the price for winning the five kilometre Barham Insurance race on April 11 and was pulled back on the starting grid – meaning she had to concede extra time to Garry Saunders, Bob Freeland, Dave Hunter, Meggy Boan and Keith Lofthouse, who all backed up in the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap and might have expected to turn the tables.
Somehow, Howden was able to covert a 0.29 second advantage over Saunders, her closest rival in the Barham, to a one minute margin over the longer distance, and this despite being “dragged” by more than a minute by the handicapper.
“I guess winning the Barham helped boost my fitness as well as my confidence and the extra distance helped,” she said.
“Vicki (Tyler) went out pretty hard and I was able to latch onto her tail for about half of the race. I think that made me race a little harder than I might of otherwise. It certainly brought me out of my comfort zone.”
The 73-year-old Saunders, who keeps on bouncing back year after year, chased relentlessly but was no match for Howden who has a history of racing into form and holding it.
In the Sub-Junior division of the race, Tex Tracey returned to the club to post a first-up win over the gallant siblings, Kayla and Miles Membrey.
The club has a bye this Anzac Day but travels to Horsham on Saturday, May 2, for the Howden-sponsored Telstra Shop Handicap.