There were times in Jess Cass’s life that the very thought of clocking milestones weighed like a millstone.
Cass was 28 when she started running just 18 months ago. Until then she had never run a single kilometre in her life and, apart from dabbling in a few sessions of lawn bowls, had never played competitive sport.
“I’d never walk anywhere, let alone run, and I wouldn’t take on a team sport because I didn’t want to let anyone down.”
So no one was more surprised than Cass herself when she ran the race of her life to win the five kilometre Barham Insurance Handicap at Stawell last Saturday, the opening event of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s 50thAnniversary season.
Seasoned visitors from Horsham, Gary Howden and Colin Barnett, filled the minor places, Howden a mere 0.1 seconds behind Cass.
The plucky accountant has emerged as a winner, in more ways than one. Running has changed her life. There are challenges to look forward to. Now she knocks off the milestones one by one and records them on Facebook to the dismay of friends – her first kilometre, her first five and 10km, and walking her first half marathon.
“My old high school friends think it’s hilarious,” she said, “because they know that sport never interested me until I just sort of decided it was time to do some exercise.”
“It’s really quite addictive. You just want to stretch yourself all the time to see what you can do. The club has a 16 kilometre race later in the year and it scares me, but at least I dare to think about it.”
Next up is the five kilometre Hunter Landscaping and Gardening Handicap at Concongella tomorrow.
New members and fun runners are invited to meet at the North Park Clubrooms from 9.30am for a 10am start.