All-girl quinellas used to be a rarity in Stawell Amateur Athletic Club races but with the flying femmes having won six of the nine races so far this season they have almost become the norm.
When Rachel Coverdale and Rhonda Clark fought out the finish of the Garry Rice Concongella Vineyard Handicap last Saturday it was a hat-trick of one, two results for the girls with Rhonda figuring in all three.
Not that she begrudged Rachel her maiden win in her début season with the club, having paid credit to her fitness trainer and her Stawell YMCA Pump classes for the improved stamina that carried Rhonda to her own win in the Telstra Store Handicap at Horsham on May 18.
Revelling in the grassy fields of the vineyards and the muddy trails nearby, Rachel was never threatened. She led for at least two kilometres of the 6.7km race, and cruised to the line with a one minute advantage over Clark while it was left to veteran Peter Barham to lead the men home just 0.05 seconds behind.
Rachel was thrilled with her first win in any competition and thanked the club for providing the opportunity “to be a better runner.”
“I’ve run about 10 fun runs and two half-marathons but there’s no doubt that handicap racing, chasing someone ahead and being chased by someone behind, makes you a better runner,” she said.
“I’m fitter and I’m faster; it’s actually more fun than fun runs and racing gives you that extra incentive to get out and train to remain competitive.”
Nathanial Warren flew the flag for the males by recording fastest time of 27.02 minutes, while Coverdale was “gifted” with her first “fastest female” when Meggy Boan made a right when she should have turned left early in the race.
The Sub-Juniors race over one kilometre was a spirited affair with Logan Casey finishing strongly to defeat the consistent Atalia Chaplin by 0.09 seconds with Jordan Nitzche hanging on to third place a further 0.21 seconds behind.
By Keith Lofthouse