Months of endurance training for a half ironman event later this year helped Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Susie Ellis surge to victory during the final stages of last Saturdays 16km Charlie Jones Handicap.
The race was held through the Iron Bark Reserve north of Stawell.
A keen but smaller group of 17 senior runners lined up for the second longest race of the season. Recent form had Ellis as a strong chance, along with Ivan McDonald, Peter Steggall and Col Barnett, and they all figured prominently in the closing stages of the race.
With 3km to go, Axel Meumann had overtaken early race leader Gary Saunders, with McDonald not far behind.
Ellis was running very strongly and soon overtook McDonald but Peter Steggall and Col Barnett were not too far behind.
Over the final kilometre, Ellis reeled in Meumann to hit the lead, and powered on home for a clear win over Peter Steggall in second place, while Ivan McDonald managed to oust Meumann for third.
Col Barnett finished fifth, with the fastest race time of 61 minutes 21 sec.Susie Ellis was the fastest female in a time of 69 minutes 48 sec.
The juniors ran two laps of a 2km course, with backmarker Emily Parnaby surging to the lead with 700m to go, scoring a good win from the ever improving Emma Kelly. Sarah Ellis ran well for third.
Emily Parnaby also ran the fastest junior time of 20 minutes 47 sec.
The sub-juniors ran a 2km race, with Liam Scott showing the rest of the field a clean pair of heels, winning easily from India Burns, with brother Liam Burns in third place.
Liam Scott ran the fastest sub-junior time of 9 minutes 49 sec. Elly Barnett was the fastest sub-junior girl in 12 minutes 36 sec.