Working mum Sandra Casey joined the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club this year never expecting to actually win a race.
She’s played quality tennis and rides a bike but only joined the running club at the urgings of fellow member Bridie Scollary and because her two boys Jacob and Logan, once they had a taste of competing with the club’s Sub Juniors, wanted more.
In terms of running time, Sandra has finished last or near last in her eight runs to date but the Horsham podiatrist personifies the spirit of participation above any craving to be the swiftest and surest at her newly adopted sport.
“Sandra exemplifies the great egalitarian nature of handicap racing,” club President, Keith Lofthouse said after the five kilometre Community Axis Handicap that finished in driving rain at Haven, near Horsham.
“She ran the slowest time today but still she has made steady improvement and, with the handicaps working in her favour, was fast enough to beat Meggy Boan, the club’s most improved athlete, and the fastest female today. Sandra might not improve as much but Meggy is a role model to aspire to.”
Sandra is now training at least three times a week, is mixing it up with sessions on the bike and has goals ahead, firstly to run 5km in a respectable 25 minutes.
And then? “It won’t be this year, but it might be next year when I run a half marathon,” she said. “That’s a distance I never thought I would be able to achieve until I ran the 16 kilometre race with the club, and now I think the extra distance is within my scope.”
Jacob and Logan, who beat their mum to record their first wins in Sub Junior ranks earlier in the season, finished out of a place in a hotly contested race over the shorter distance.
Michael Coverdale sprinted with fierce determination to defeat the promising Jordan Nitschke with Chanel Scollary a brave third to the boys.
The club returns to the Ironbarks tomorrow for the Chris Blake Handicap over the “sprint” distance of three kilometres. Fun runners of all ages are invited to meet at the North Park Clubrooms at 1.30 pm. Keith Lofthouse 53562493 / 0458830034