Rice Rolls on to 4th Win

The relentless Rhonda Rice juggernaut rolled on when the revitalised runner won her third race in three weeks and her fourth since June at Stawell last Saturday.

Thriving on an hour’s training before work on most weekday mornings, the 46-year-old veteran continued to confound her club-mates by winning the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s Horsham Physiotherapy Handicap and Podiatry Handicap after posting her fastest five kilometres since 2010.

This came just two weeks after her win, by a staggering seven minutes, in the 16km Elwyn Haymes Memorial race on August 10.

And as if to underline her durability, and versatility, this was just six days after another easy win with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club in a 10km event at Deep Lead on July 26.

On current form an unprecedented fifth win in a standout season is not beyond her – remarkable given that Rice, who competes in up to 40 races a year, had to be coaxed into running in 2015 due to a “lack of motivation.”

“I didn’t expect to be standing here so soon,” Rice said at the post-race presentation.

With a reputation for being a Rolls Royce one day and a moped the next, she made reference to the fact that club founder Keith Haymes and course marshal Ray Rickard often spurred her on with jibes about “releasing the hand break.”

On Saturday she surprised front-marker Stephen Baird by scooting past him two kilometres from the finish when he seemed to be going well enough to win.

Baird clung on for third leaving rookie Rob Blythman to do the chasing after Rice but was denied his first win by not getting close enough to threaten the tearaway.

In the Sub Junior division of the race Zephyr Tracey was able to hold off the fast finishing Logan Casey to score a brave win with Jordan Nitschke running his usual honest race for third.

The club travels to Halls Gap tomorrow for the five kilometre King of the Hill on a tough and challenging course. Details are available on 53562493.

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