Having celebrated his engagement the night before, Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Ivan McDonald capped off a special weekend with a hard fought win last Saturday when he took out the Barham’s Insurance Handicap.
The race was held over an undulating 8km course through the Iron Bark forest north of Stawell.
Starting from the middle of the 25 strong field, McDonald set a determined pace from the start. Giving the front markers 11 minutes, he set about rounding them up, but it was not until the last 1500m that he sighted the leaders. Axel Meumann had overtaken Carol Lehmann to establish a handy lead, and looked like he may even hold on to win. McDonald had worked his way into third place, but the backmarkers were also closing in fast.
A dogged effort up the remaining hills saw McDonald hit the front with 500m to go, but he still had to withstand challenges from backmarkers Adrian Tyler and Col Barnett, who were carving their way through the field not far behind.
Helped by a largely downhill leg to the finish, McDonald dug deep to hang on for first place, dragging Meumann home with him to clinch second place. Tyler managed to hang onto third place from a fast finishing Barnett.
Steve Page ran the best race time of 28 minutes 33sec, with Susie Ellis the fastest female in 35 minutes 58sec.
The juniors contested a short and fast 2km event. Jasinta Cameron returned to racing after a break and found the form to hit the lead with 400m to go, overtaking front marker Sarah Ellis. Cameron held on to win from Ellis with Emma Kelly finishing third.
Fastest junior was Daniel Faravoni in 7 minutes 29sec. Fastest junior girl was Emily Parnaby in 7 minutes 59sec.
Last weeks sub-junior winner, Tobias Blair, defied the handicapper to make it two wins in a row when he lead Elly Barnett home in their 2km event. Liam Burns ran his usual consistent race for third.
Blair posted the fastest sub-junior time of 9 minutes, with Elly Barnett the best sub-junior girl in a time of 9 minutes 18sec.