Veteran Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Gary Saunders revelled in the flat conditions along the Wimmera River course last Saturday, finishing well clear of the field to take out the Andrew Darnell Memorial 8km handicap.
Running from the one minute mark near the front of the field, Saunders soon left co-markers Carolyn Lehmann and Wen Zhia behind, opening up a large lead by the half way mark.
However, with 4km still to go, the rest of the field was not out of contention. Alexa Duke was running well, with Peter Blair and Susie Ellis also making up time fast. With 1500m to go the field was starting to come together, with backmarkers Owen Roper, Ray Scott, and Nathaniel Warren making their presence felt.
With 500m to go Saunders looked a certain winner, and went on to cross the line over a minute clear of Susie Ellis, who had overtaken Peter Blair for second place. Blair finished third, followed by Steven Baird who just held off a fast finishing Owen Roper.
Adrian Tyler ran the fastest time of the day with 30 minutes 10sec. Susie Ellis was the fastest female in 33 minutes 35sec.
Ebony Darnell ran the race of her life to astound the handicapper and win the junior 4km handicap by a massive margin of nearly 5 minutes. Emily Parnaby and Liam Scott had a tough battle the entire race, running neck and neck, until Scott kicked away at the end to take second place by 5 seconds with Parnaby third.
Scott ran the fastest junior time of 16 minutes 38sec and Parnaby was the fastest junior girl in a time of 16 minutes 53sec.
Liam Burns was also in fine form to win by a good margin in the sub-junior 2km event, followed by India Burns in second place and Somer Darnell third.
Aleesha Robertson ran the fastest sub-junior time of 9 minutes 12sec with Liam Burns the fastest sub-junior boy with 9 minutes 22sec.