A home ground advantage enabled lightweight athlete Keith Lofthouse to shrug off what he termed a “losing stupor” to salute in the Seppelt Cross Country Classic on a sodden Great Western racecourse last Saturday – his first race win in more than 50 starts.
It had been almost two years to the day since the veteran last tasted success in the Charlie Jones 16 kilometre handicap with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club which shared the Seppelt race with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club.
“I’ve had a terrible run with niggling injuries, calf, knee, hamstring and I’d forgotten how to be competitive,” the 65-year-old retiree said.
“I’m not blessed with natural talent so the only way I can compete is through hard training and racing. I’ve found from experience that if I’m not fit I’ve got nothing. If you’re racing about two kilograms above your racing weight (62kg) and built like a greyhound it makes a huge difference to how you perform.”
Finding his best form this season on a course he designed and trains on, Lofthouse used local knowledge as his trump card to defeat greybeard Garry Saunders by 0.54 seconds with Bob Freeland completing a clean sweep for the veterans in third place.
“I’m happy to win but I know the club’s best runners stayed away because of the bad weather and I ran two minutes 17 slower than I did last year so I still have a lot of work on my fitness to do.”
In the Sub-Junior event over one lap of the racecourse Logan Casey won bragging rights over brother Jacob while Luca O’Flynn always had charge of the Junior race and won easily from friend Aiden Roberts.
The club returns to Stawell tomorrow for the 10 kilometre Run for Ray Scott. Fun runners are welcome and should meet at the North Park clubrooms from 1.30pm.