Mountain goat Anthony Morey made a mockery of the claim that the Oscar’s Furniture race at Rose’s Gap is one of the toughest eleven kilometres on the masochist’s calendar when he used the event as a warm-up for the Adelaide Half-Marathon on Sunday – and won!
Anthony, 33, who only commenced competitive cross country last year after starting work with the Stawell Gold Mine, surprised himself with the ease of his win in the gruelling race after showing utter contempt for the notorious “hill of horrors” that rises steeply above Troopers Camp.
“I’d been told about the climb, and that it was a minefield of rocks and boulders, but actually I handled it pretty comfortably,” the matter-of-fact winner said.
Anthony, who blitzed his bedraggled rivals in a time of 48 minutes 40 seconds, made a molehill of the mountain that historically forces more seasoned runners to stop to a walk on the dozen or so slopes that rarely fail to sap the will power.
The most experienced starter, Gary Saunders, himself a recent winner, returned to Trooper’s Camp caked in mud and blood after an earth-shaking fall on one of the flatter sections of the course.
Club speedster Col Barnett led the early charge on the more forgiving rises but, in warm and humid conditions, he too fell victim to the lung-busting climb, allowing Anthony and invitation runner Simon Gallagher (48 minutes 10 seconds) to pass with relative ease.
“I was pretty conservative up the hill, not really knowing what to expect, and I think this helped keep some speed in my legs for the downhill,” said Anthony who had almost two minutes to spare from runner-up, Horsham’s Daryl Scollary, once handicaps were applied.
“Simon’s in another class, so I couldn’t catch him, but I really wasn’t doing the best I can because I wanted to keep something in the tank for the half-marathon, which I’ve never run before.”
Anthony, who somehow thrives on a sparse training schedule, hasn’t yet stretched his talent to his limit. He describes himself as an “average” runner and yet can produce blistering performances on a miserly regime of just one 60 minute run per-week, mixed with some bike-riding and, in season, some indoor soccer.
“I’ve actually ramped up the training for the half-marathon and it’s true to say I’ve never run better,” he said.
Paris Panozzo, 13, proved too sharp for Luca O’Flynn and Raine Mackley in the Junior division of the race, held over five kilometres, while Chanel Scollary saluted the timekeepers ahead of Cella Atherton in the Sub-Juniors.
Next week, the club returns to the Ironbarks Forest for the first Run for Ray, a five kilometre event in memory of popular clubman Ray Scott, who died tragically while on a training run in the forest in May of last year.
Friends and family of Ray, as well as all fun-runners are invited to meet at the North Park clubrooms on Saturday at 1.30pm. Entry is four dollars with proceeds going towards the purchase of a defibrillator which the club will acquire, thanks to the assistance of a grant from Stawell Gold Mines.
By Keith Lofthouse