Quirky O’Flynn Finally to the Fore

Enigmatic runner Sven O’Flynn bemoaned the fact that he’d found the form so late in the season that enabled him to win a race last Saturday – his first with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club since 2010.

O’Flynn runs for both the Stawell club (Saturdays) and the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club (Sundays) but there is no way you could call him an athlete.

“I run for fun and not all that often,” the 47-year-old said after the handicaps turned enough in his favour to snatch a narrow 0.06 second win in the Chris Blake Handicap that stretches for three kilometres on a straight but undulating course through the Ironbarks.

“It was the shorter distance and a 7km training run during the week that did it,” he chirped, “because I don’t train that much.”

He’s managed a couple of minor placings with the Amateurs this year but in seven starts with the Ararat club he’d finished a dismal last in all but one and failed to finish another. He’s got lost, he’s stopped, he’s started and he doesn’t mind a chat along the way. He’s also an asthmatic, which doesn’t help.

The Sunday before last he was seen jogging from Ararat on his way to Moyston for the President’s Handicap but had to thumb a lift to make the start on time.

What was he thinking? In all seriousness, he said “I needed the run to try and get fit for the race!”

This is the same man who once confessed that he’d enjoyed a hearty breakfast of porridge, bacon and eggs and pancakes and hour or so before a tough 6.5 kilometre race around Garry Rice’s Concongella vineyard.

For all his idiosyncrasies, O’Flynn has ability, but it is rarely seen and only seen when least expected.

His scalps in the Blake included the in-form runner-up Keith Lofthouse and a sizzling Kieran Ryan whose fastest time of 10.38 minutes was not quite enough to overcome the 5.45 minutes start he had to concede to the winner.

Luca O’Flynn did his dad proud, running a smart 14.16 to win the Junior division of the race, while Jacob Casey prevented an O’Flynn clean sweep by accounting for the dead-heaters, brother Logan and Lily O’Flynn in the Sub Juniors race over 1000 metres.

The penultimate race of the season is the five kilometres King of the Mountain at Halls Gap tomorrow starting at 2pm. Fun runners are welcome.

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