From the rolling hills of San Francisco, to the High Line of New York, to Mission Beach at San Diego Gary Howden ran everywhere he could while on a three week holiday and was rewarded with a win in the eight kilometre Stawell Toyota Handicap at Stawell last Saturday just two days after his return.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system to be running at those amazing locations and then coming back to run a six kilometre warm-up in Horsham,” the 58-year-old said.
“This was only my third run with the club (Stawell Amateur Athletic Club) this year so the only way I could be competitive was to make sure I ran while I was away.
“That’s never a hardship to me because it’s great to run where you might never get the opportunity again at places like the High Line, a disused railway bridge in Manhattan which has been converted into elevated parkland with a 2.5 kilometre walking and running course.
Howden, whose father Max and son Bruce founded the Toyota dealership in the mid-1980s, was thrilled to win the race that once carried the Howden name.
Howden had to give a tidy start to every runner, except for former club champion Col Barnett, who also travelled from Horsham for the race.
Still lying sixth with just a kilometre to run Howden rounded up Saunders, Baird, Lofthouse, Freeland and Hunter in the steady uphill climb to the finish to defeat Dave Hunter by with Bob Freeland clinging on grimly for third.
The club returns to the Ironbarks on Saturday for the five kilometre David O. Jones Stawell Mitre 10 Handicap. Fun runners are invited to meet at the North Park clubrooms from 9.30am.