Club stalwart Charlie Jones reverted to an “oldtimer’s” training strategy which enabled him to score an unexpected win in the Stan and Karen Watson sponsored five kilometre handicap last Saturday.
Charlie, 57, who has trained up to 60 kilometres a week for most of his adult life, decided to add an extra training run to his hectic schedule after finishing tenth over the same distance at Ararat the weekend before.
“In the old days, elite athletes, much better runners than I am, used to go out for a training run after racing on the same day,” the tattooed terrier said. “I thought that if it was good enough for them it’s good enough for me, so after the Ararat race I ran the stiffness out of me by running a fairly solid five kilometres back in Stawell and then I did my longer run, over 16 kilometres, during the week.
“I don’t know if it made a difference, but it might have, because there was some pretty handy opposition out there today and I certainly didn’t expect to win.”
After a somewhat indifferent season which featured only one second and one third in eleven starts, Charlie suddenly found top form and in a tight finish proved a shade too sharp for Horsham newcomer Daryl Scollary to score by ten seconds with Paul Atherton and Rick Price breasting the tape just four seconds further in arrears.
Finishing strongly just behind them was Col Barnett who recorded fastest time of a tick over 19 minutes.
The fact that Charlie’s last win was in the Jones-sponsored 16 kilometre race last season, underlined his versatility over all distances.
The race was a triumph for the club handicapper in more ways than one as he also had the satisfaction of seeing the first nine runners cross the line with little over a minute separating them.
Right up there with the speedsters was Paris Panozzo who easily won the 5 kilometre Junior division of the race in a scintillating 20 minutes 55 seconds, the third fastest time of all runners on the day.
Armani Scollary earned bragging rights over her big sister Chanel when she used her race handicap to advantage to win the Sub-Juniors event over 1000 metres.
By Keith Lofthouse