This time last year trail and endurance runner Matilda Iglesias wondered if she would ever regain the level of fitness that made her the most regular of winners on the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club cross country calendar.
Struck down with a severe cold in October 2016, Iglesias bulged a disc in her back during a coughing spasm and subsequent to that her hip locked up and she could barely move without pain and effort.
The thirty-eight-year-old mum loves to run, but her recovery was so slow and so painstaking that she didn’t rediscover winning form until last July at Concongella Vineyard when the cross country season was half over.
The excruciating experience was but a distant memory last Saturday when, at her first start in 2018, she easily won the five kilometre Rupanyup Garden Centre Handicap on a rugged bush track in Stawell claiming no less of a scalp than local champion, “Turbo” Tom Walker.
“It’s great to be running with freedom again and to know that I’m in good shape for the Canberra Half Marathon next weekend where I hope to run a PB,” Iglesias said.
“My best for the 21 kilometres is 1.49 hours, but that was five years ago. I’d like to run a 1.45 and I think I can on the road. I’ve been doing lots of trail running, up to 70 kilometres a week, but if I miss out on a PB there’s still Run Melbourne and the Melbourne Marathon ahead.”
Fresh from his cracking second place in the Stawell Gift two-miler, Walker had to give 6.30 minutes start to the winner, but had reduced that margin to just 0.37 minutes by the time he reached the timekeepers. Reigning club champion, Col Barnett was a fast finishing third.
It was an ominous start to the season for Walker after the seventeen-year-old flyer posted six runner-up finishes with the club in 2017, including a second to Iglesias at the vineyard.
In the Sub-Juniors 1000 metres race Chloe Moloney narrowly accounted for last start winner Jerome Baker with the reliable Olivia Hunter a game third.
Action returns to the Ironbarks this Saturday for the five kilometre David O Jones Mire 10 Handicap. Fun runners are welcome to meet at the North Park Clubrooms from 9.30am.