Rebecca Hurley might have to rethink her mantra that she is “not really a runner” after winning her second Stawell Amateur Athletic Club race just three starts after her maiden success in her rookie season.
Twelfth and thirteenth in the Concongella Vineyards run the week before, Hurley and Naomi Hunter staged spectacular form reversals to quinella the six-and-a-half kilometre Telstra Shop Handicap on a muddy and sometimes slippery course at Horsham last Saturday.
Even more astounding was Hurley’s winning time of 36.02 minutes which, albeit on flatter ground, was 4.34 minutes faster than her performance on a twisting and turning course through the grapevines and forest hill climb at Concongella.
“I was third to start (in the handicap race) and knowing that Gary Saunders had nine minutes start on me and that Naomi was (2.5 minutes) ahead I went out really fast, probably too fast,” said Hurley, the fifth female in the last six races to win.
“But the flat course really suited me. I was able to get into a rhythm, dodging puddles and avoiding most of the corrugations by running on the side of the (Cameron) road.”
Surging to the lead with half the course still to travel, Hurley’s tactics were so effective that by the time she greeted the timekeepers she had extended her winning margin to a dominant 2.46 minutes, easily the widest margin of the eleven races so far this season.
The “not really a runner” has grown so much in confidence with regular training and racing that she has entered the 21 kilometre event, a distance she never thought she would be capable of, at the Melbourne Marathon Festival on October 13.
In the one kilometre Sub-Junior race, six-year-old Chloe Hunter scampered to a five-second win over Jerome Baker, denying him back-to-back victories, with Eva Hurley a close third.
The club has a bye this weekend but gathers with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club for the eight kilometre Best’s Great Western Classic at the winery on July 14. Fun runners are welcome.