Stawell geologist Justine Tracey took up running in 2012 as the result of a pub bet with a workmate.
Her dedication to training and racing has been sporadic since then – but she is still running and her workmate is not.
All bets were off before the five kilometre Hunter Landscaping and Gardening Handicap at Concongella on Saturday, but that didn’t stop Tracey from scooting to a surprise win in the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club race to spearhead an all-girl trifecta.
She had to fight off a determined late challenge by the much-improved Jess Cass who ran “faster than I ever have” to fail by just 0.2 seconds to start the amateur season with two wins. The ever-reliable Matilda Iglesias ran her usual plucky race to be third.
“I didn’t think I was fit enough to win so early in the season,” Tracey said because I haven’t been able to train on Monday nights at Central Park (with Bob Freeland) and I’ve lost quite a bit of speed.
“It’s always a tough session and that’s what I really need, but now that I’ve started again I’ll try and do a little more training. When you’re fit, and especially race fit, you don’t have to work so hard.’
Race sponsor Dave Hunter did best of the boys to finish fourth but former Club champion Colin Barnett ran fastest time of 21.12 minutes.
In the Sub Junior division of the race, Horsham visitor Jay Jay Nitschke ran the 1000 metres in 8.11 minutes and was a narrow winner from Kayla Membrey and Zephyr Tracey.
The club returns to the Ironbarks this Saturday for the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap. All runners meets at the North Park Clubrooms from 9.30am.
Fun runners are welcome.