Ryan at Top for Alaska Peaks
Endurance athlete Kieran Ryan ran his usual 25 to 30 kilometres up and down the hills, trails and mountains of Halls Gap last Saturday, then travelled to Horsham later in the day and switched on the after burners to soar to a stunning win in the Telstra Shop Handicap.
The 6.5 kilometre Stawell Amateur Athletic Club event, stretching along the flats from Horsham’s Cameron Road, might have seemed like a walk in the park for the Stawell superman, but on tired legs the race was no picnic.
“It’s quite hard to run the distances that I do at a comfortable pace and then try and run a shorter distance as fast as you can. It really involves a different set of body mechanics,” the tungsten-tough 25-year-old said.
Ryan distinguishes the shorter competitive races as “k-fillers” or necessary kilometres that help relieve the loneliness of the long distance runner as he prepares for more gruelling assignments.
Reigning club champion Nathaniel Warren stuck like glue to the heir apparent out in front as they chatted away for the first four kilometres before Ryan poured on the pressure.
Once handicaps were adjusted a mere 0.02 seconds prevented Warren from achieving back-to-back wins. Race sponsor Gary Howden was a distant third to complete the third all-male trifecta in as many races this season.
Ryan was out pounding another 25 kilometres at the Gap the next day in preparation for a trip to Alaska in August where he will spend time learning from endurance race champion Geoff Roes at his Alaska Mountain Ultra-Running Camp and then facing the challenge of a 150 km run.
He will return to Australia for a 100km Great Ocean jaunt from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles at Princetown in October.
How does he do it? “The key is learning to listen to your body and knowing when to push on or ease off,” he explained. “It takes a lot of experience and you go through a lot of shoes – in fact, I’ve probably got more of those than my girlfriend.”
In the Junior Division of the Telstra Shop, rookie Ashleigh Wilson broke through for her maiden win from a determined Rhys Bubb and Atalia Chaplin. Jordan Nitschke scored the narrowest of wins from Jonte Bubb and Jacob Casey in a keenly contested Sun-Junior race.
The club’s next race is a combined race with the Stawell & Ararat Cross Country Cub. The Lindsay Kent Memorial 8km.
Please meet in the carpark at the rear of Stawell Airport, off Pipetrack Road at 1:30.
Fun Runners Welcome.