Matilda Iglesias, fully fit again after a long, slow recovery from freakish injury, returned to the scene of her very first win with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club in 2012 to triumph in the Concongella Vineyards Handicap last Saturday.
A dedicated trail runner, the thirty-seven-year-old mum had built an impressive portfolio of endurance credits before misfortune struck in October last year.
“I was really fit and loving my running when I caught a cold and bulged a disc in my back during a coughing fit,” she said. “If that wasn’t painful enough, my hip then locked up just before Christmas and I could hardly move. It all seemed to be related and it was very, very frustrating.”
Under strict orders from her physio to “take it easy” Iglesias was out of action until January when she eased into a “return to running program” which eventually had her fit enough to tackle Suf Coast Trail Marathon in June.
Her experience on all types of terrain served her well on the damp and undulating 6.5 kilometre course through the Concongella Vineyards and she always held a commanding lead over her chasers.
Her scalps included schoolboy champion Tom Walker whose blistering fastest time of 24.24 minutes was not swift enough to overcome the punishing nine minute start he had to give the winner.
Walker, whose next target is the Australian Cross Country Championship in Wollongong on August 26 has now earned the accursed “bridesmaid” tag after four seconds this season but a win seems imminent.
With her fitness and confidence restored Iglesias will now join club mates Jess Cass, Nathaniel Warren and Kayleen Urquhart in September, each running a 25 kilometre leg in the Surfcoast Century ultra-marathon along the Great Ocean Road.
In the Sub Juniors race over one kilometre, rookies Kelsey Hurley and sister Eva battled for bragging rights ahead of Chloe Hunter.
The club travels to Rupanyup on Saturday for the Tyler’s Hardware Handicap on a flat and friendly eight kilometre course that starts from the football ground. Fun runners are welcome.
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