Landscape gardener, golfer and cricketer Dave Hunter put down the tools, the clubs, and the pads and ran for his life at Stawell’s Big Hill last Saturday to achieve something he didn’t think possible at the start of 2013.
Showing the benefit of his rookie season with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club, Hunter took control of the five kilometre event with one km to run, cried “come on, they’re not going to catch us this time!” as he passed the battling Sandra Casey and defied a battery of female chasers, led by Sharon Howden and Meggy Boan, to score his maiden win in the club’s season finale.
Hunter’s surprise win, on the eve of his 36th birthday, prevented the club’s “flying femmes” from recording their 13th win in 21 races, and also denied them a fourth all-girl trifecta this year.
Hunter works hard and eats well but has a battle with his weight and only took up serious running this year for the sake of his own well-being. He never dreamed that he would join, not one, but two local running clubs and actually be fit and fast enough to win a race.
It was brother-in-law Dale Hurley, who since retiring from football has had remarkable success, becoming Club Champion with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club in his first two seasons, who urged Hunter to join.
“Dale knew I was doing a little bit of running, mostly around golf courses, and he thought that club running might help me improve my fitness.”
“I’ve been training on a Monday night with Bob Freeland to get some speed into my legs and that seems to have worked, thanks to him, but to be honest I seem to do better when I train less because work takes its toll.”
Hunter’s goal, now that the running season is over, is to press on to participate in his first half-marathon in Melbourne on October 13.
“The golf and the cricket is on hold a bit until after the half, but I’m keen to get back into that and I’m pretty sure I’ll be back running again next year,” he said.
In the sub-juniors version of the race, Tex Tracey waited until the last race of the season to score his first win, finishing strongly to defeat Josh Logan and the ever-consistent Atalia Chaplin.