Halls Gap masseuse Tina Baker has completed six half marathons in her twenty years of recreational running but never in her life had won a competitive foot race until she romped away with the five kilometre Stan and Karen Watson Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
Baker was favourably handicapped in the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club event but stunned timekeepers when she chopped 7.28 minutes from her time posted when beaten out of sight over 5500 metres at Concongella just one week previously.
There she finished almost five minutes behind the winner, Gary Saunders, but in the Watson she had acres of ground and 1.35 minutes to spare from impressive newcomer Sukhpreet Bal and “Turbo” Tom Walker who recorded a scintillating best time of 17.07 minutes on the twisting and testing course.
Baker, who had finished no closer than twelfth in her four previous runs with the club, seemed nonplussed after her win.
“This is the first trophy I’ve won since I was 14, playing netball,” she said.
“I only joined the club for the social aspects and to enjoy a good family activity. I never gave a thought to actually winning!”
The Baker’s big day out began auspiciously when son Barney Baker clung to a seven second margin to defeat siblings Jayde and Angus Lowe in one kilometre Sub Juniors event.
The distance steps up to 6.5 kilometres in the Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap at Stawell this Saturday. Fun runners are welcome and should meet at the North Park Clubrooms from 9.30am.