Horsham based Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Steve Page blitzed the field with an awesome display of strength and endurance last Saturday, taking out both the Advance Bricks King of the Mountain title and handicap event as well.
Held over a mountainous 4km out and back course near Halls Gap, the difficult grades tested runners on both the ascents and descents, at times reducing many of the contestants to a walk.
The race was staged as a sealed handicap, where all runners set off together. The first runner home claimed the King of the Mountain title, then post race handicaps were applied to determine the actual race winner.
The strongest and fittest runners soon took the lead, with Page breaking away to open up a good lead. Col Barnett and Peter Steggall also started strongly. Ray Scott, Karl Scott and John Kelly followed close behind, setting a more cautious initial pace.
However, Page was in a class of his own and pulled away to finish a full 2 minutes 16sec ahead of Barnett. Ray Scott and John Kelly overtook Peter Steggall, to cross the line in third and fourth places.
After handicaps were applied, the major placings across the line did not change, with Steve Page first in the fastest race time of 18 minutes 7sec. Col Barnett was second with Ray Scott third.
Fastest female was Ilana Jorgensen in 26 minutes 55sec.
The juniors set off with the seniors and also tackled the same course, showing many of the senior runners a clean pair of heels.
Daniel Faravoni handled the tough conditions very well to come home as first junior, and seventh overall. Shaun Parnaby was second across the line with Nat Watson third.
After handicaps were applied, Parnaby was declared race winner, from Faravoni second and Greta Duke third. Faravoni ran the fastest junior time of 23 minutes 5sec, with Duke the fastest girl in 27 minutes 16sec.
The sub-juniors completed a 700m flat course, with Layla Atherton putting in a great effort to score her first win ever. India Burns ran well for second and Elly Atherton was placed third.
Liam Scott ran the fastest sub-junior time of 2 minutes 47sec. Elly Barnett was the fastest sub-junior girl in 3 minutes 12 sec.