Nhill runner Peter Cutler drove 300 kilometres in a round trip to run just five kilometres with his new club last Saturday, but went home a winner after leading all the way in the Dooen Engineering Handicap.
Beginning brilliantly to establish an early break over “gun” runners David McAllister and Nathaniel Warren, Cutler cut a swathe through the Ironbark Forest as he stretched his lead to around 200 metres.
The gallant chasers never looked like catching the leader who revelled in the steamy conditions to win in the blistering time of 18 minutes and 34 seconds, with McAllister and Warren over 40 seconds in arrears after racing neck and neck for the entire trip.
Cutler, who decided to join the club only this year after running (and winning) as a guest in past seasons, plans to use the weekly SAAC races to prepare himself for the Adelaide and Melbourne marathons later in the year.
“I’ve run a three hours and six seconds marathon and want to break through the three hour barrier if I can,” Cutter said. “I think what my training lacks is probably these short, sharp races to help improve my speed. I’m banking on that for the extra zip I need to bring my marathon times down.”
In the closest finish of the afternoon, first time runner Raine Mackley, 10, took on the older boys in the two kilometre junior division of the race, and “nosed” out the more experienced Liam Scott after an exciting duel for most of the race.
Liam looked to have Raine covered after coming through the “dip” but just when Liam started to lift Raine managed to kick in what was a courageous effort first-up.
By Keith Lofthouse