Ararat council worker Tony Davey had never run more than five kilometres in his life before he turned up in the Ironbarks Forest last Saturday with more natural ability than even he imagined and cruised to an effortless win on debut with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club.
Tony, 42, received a generous mark from the club handicapper because he had no history of running and no serious training, so his win in the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap, confounded his opponents as much as himself.
“I only started running because my son, Liam, has such an interest in it, but I never expected anything like this,” he said after leading most of the way to defeat another newcomer, Richard Clarke, by just on 1.40 minutes.
Rhonda Clark was a further 23 seconds behind Clarke and came closest to making an all-girl clean sweep of the first three races on the SAAC’s cross country calendar.
Donald footballer Darby Harrison, 17, on invitation, used a lay day to further his fitness and record fastest time of 27.35 minutes while Meggy Boan was next best with a PB of 28.47 minutes.
Humbled by the win and the handsome first-ever trophy he received, the New Zealand born Davey apologised for his first taste of victory and actually felt better when reminded that the handicapper would have his revenge.
Ten-year-old Liam very nearly made it a Davey-double when, in a thrilling finish to the Sub-Junior event over one kilometre, he rocketed home to fail by a hair’s breadth to gather in his smaller opponent, Tex Tracey.
Liam, a classy young runner from the ranks of Ararat Little Aths, sped over the distance in an impressive 3.49 minutes and looks to have a bright future in the sport and with our club.
By Keith Lofthouse