Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Gary Saunders survived the unseasonable heat and a late charge from backmarker Col Barnett to take out the Garry Rice Handicap last Saturday. The race was held over a flat 5km course at Dadswells Bridge.
Normally not a warm weather performer, Saunders found the relatively short race distance and lack of hills to his advantage, and had overtaken front markers Carolyn Lehmann and Betty Meumann by the half way point.
Further back in the field, Alexa Duke and Steve Baird were running well, with shorter distance specialist Karl Scott also making his presence felt.
With 700m to go, Saunders still held a lead of 45 seconds over Duke with Col Barnett a further 15 seconds behind.
Saunders dug deep to hold off the final charge of Barnett, scoring his first win this season. Barnett overtook Duke to claim second place, with Duke coming home third.
Fastest race time went to Steve Page with another outstanding run, clocking 17 minutes 3sec. Quickest female was Ilana Jorgensen in a time of 23 minutes 50sec.
The juniors tackled the same 5km course as the seniors. Daniel Faravoni set out hard from the start, and soon left co-marker Emily Parnaby behind.
By mid race, Faravoni had reeled in frontmarker Emma Kelly, and went on to win by a good margin of 45 seconds.Thomas Blair ran well for second, with Emma Kelly adding yet another minor placing to her list, taking third place.
Quickest junior was Thomas Blair in 21 minutes 47sec. Fastest junior girl was Emily Parnaby in 25 minutes 43 seconds.
Elly Atherton showed the sub-junior field a clean pair of heels to win the 1500m event by a massive 90 seconds. Sister Layla was second with Tobias Blair third.
Tobias Blair and Liam Burns ran equal fastest sub-junior times of 5 minutes 37sec. Ruby Jeffrey was the fastest sub-junior girl in 6 minutes 29sec.