Veteran campaigner Keith Lofthouse combined a little inside knowledge with a wealth of experience to bustle his way to a clever win in the 10 kilometre Shane and Robyn Young Sportspower Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
The Stawell Amateur Athletic Club race was run as a “sealed” handicap which meant that all runners, from the fastest to the slowest, started together and the handicaps not revealed until after the event.
“I knew if I allowed myself to lose touch with the younger and faster runners I would simply tag along and only race those runners of equal ability. That would only cost me time,” he said.
“And so I deliberately made Matilda Iglesias, who is half my age, chase me for around five kilometres at a really solid pace, with plenty of surges, so at least half the race was done in pretty quick time.”
Iglesias eventually got the better of the wiry Lofthouse, but he then only had to maintain a less frenetic pace for the last half to have enough time in reserve to win – by a staggering two minutes as it turned out!
“ I’d also heard from a couple of sources that a few in the race were saving themselves for the 16 kilometre Marathon Warmup this coming Saturday so I turned that to my advantage, knowing that a couple of the guys wouldn’t be risking 100 percent.”
Sandra Casey and Meggy Boan were next to follow Lofthouse to the podium after handicaps were applied, but his win continued the surprising dominance of male athletes this season – 12 wins by males against four by females who had won more than half of the 40 races programmed by the club over the previous two seasons.
Alex Boan was rewarded for his consistency with a dashing win in the Sub-Juniors race which his mum, Meggy, used as a warm-up for the Seniors.
The club returns to the Ironbarks tomorrow for the 16 kilometre Hyperno Melbourne Marathon Warm-up which is also intended as a warm-up for the Stawell Hospital Half-Marathon on October 5.
Call 53562493 for details or meet at the North Park clubrooms at 1.30pm. Entry fee is $5.