Barney’s Stragglers did anything but straggle in the final leg of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s annual Meumann Relays, coming from behind to clinch an exciting last minute victory.
Held last Saturday, six relay teams of five members each competed over nine laps of the hilly 1900m course.
Led by Col Barnett, Barney’s Stragglers team members Phil Burns, Ilana Jorgensen, John Kelly and Somer Darnell started found themselves in fifth place after the first few legs, and seemed to be out of the placings with several laps to go.
Ryan’s Mob, headed by Kieran Ryan, hit the lead after the first leg with a strong run by sub-junior Liam Scott. After Kieran Ryan had completed the second lap, his team was a clear 2 minutes and 28 seconds in front.
Ryan’s Mob continued to hold onto first place throughout the race, and heading into the final leg it looked like the rest of the field might have to settle for the minor placings.
However, the other teams had been working hard mid race and by the last change had cut the lead back to only 20 seconds. A mere 59 seconds separated Ryan’s Mob in first place and Barney’s Stragglers in fourth place.
With Ryan’s Mob’s Glenn Squires leading into the last lap, Col Barnett set off after the leaders and had caught third place with one kilometer still to run. Roper’s Troops’ Stan Watson had moved into the lead with 800 meters to go and looked a winner until Barnett caught him by surprise 300 meters from the finish.
A sprint to the line saw Barnett hit the front, and go on to win in a team time of 71 minutes and 51 seconds, only 9 seconds clear of second placed Ropers Troops. Warren’s Rabbits, headed by Nathaniel Warren, was another 17 seconds back in third place.
Kieran Ryan recorded the fastest lap time of 5 minutes 53 seconds. Ilana Jorgenson was the fastest female in a time of 7 minutes 54 seconds.
Daniel Faravoni was the quickest junior boy in 6 minutes 39 seconds and Emma Kelly was the best junior girl in 7 minutes 40 seconds.
Fastest sub-junior was Liam Scott in 7 minutes 30 seconds, while Elly Barnett was the fastest sub-junior girl in a time of 8 minutes and 33 second.