The Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s reigning champion Nathaniel Warren is on target for a sixth title, despite being blown away by a talented fun runner in the 6.5 kilometre Concongella Vineyards Handicap last Saturday.
The twenty-nine-year-old Warren is perhaps the fastest policeman in the state over a distance but, by his own admission, “couldn’t keep up” with promising schoolboy Tom Walker who recently competed with distinction at state level in Canberra.
“He was just ambling along beside me, but I was doing it hard and Tom was doing it so easily it didn’t sound like he was breathing,” Warren said.
“Eventually I had to tell him to press on and not let me slow him down, and he just scooted away. His running style is just flawless. He’s already proven himself and I hope he keeps at it.”
Walker, who turns sixteen in November, ran the distance on muddy, uneven ground in the vineyard in 25.19 minutes with Warren 44 seconds behind when he reached the timekeepers.
The hectic early pace may have helped Warren to his second win this season.
Without Walker, Warren would have been running on his lonesome out in front, causing him to relax enough to reverse his narrow three second win over Keith Lofthouse into defeat, once handicaps were adjusted.
“I’m not going to quibble about that one bit,” Lofthouse said, “not when Nathaniel had to give me around eleven minutes start!’
Third in the race was Jess Cass who continues her sparkling form, and dramatic improvement this season.
In the Sub-Junior division of the race Tex Tracey held on grimly to account for Horsham visitors, brothers Jay Jay and Jordan Nitschke.
The club travels to the Halls Gap this Saturday for the five kilometre King of the Mountain.
Fun runners are invited to meet at the cricket ground from 9.30am.