Bob Freeland topped off a great running season by taking out the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club President’s Handicap last Saturday, held over a challenging Big Hill course.
Being the last race of the year, and with the senior and junior aggregates as well as the teams trophy all still up for grabs, it was run as a Sealed Handicap, where all runners start together, and handicaps applied later.
Fifteen senior and 12 junior runners set off over the 5km two lap circuit, with Col Barnett quickly taking the lead, followed by Ray Scott and Jon Dugdale.
Talented junior Alastair Dugdale was not far behind behind his father. Barnett stretched his lead over the remainder of the race to take line honours with the fastest race time of 17min 21 sec. Susie Ellis ran well to post the fastest female time of 21min 17sec.
After handicaps were applied, Bob Freeland took the win by 2 seconds from dark horse Peter Blair, with Col Barnett 9 seconds behind in third. This also gave Freeland the Keith Haymes Aggregate by one point, overtaking Barnett who was leading by two points coming into the race.
The Rickard Teams Trophy was a tie between Stan Watson and son Nat. This is the first time there has ever been a tie for first place.
Being in the same family they decided to share the trophy. However, rumor has it that Stan was later seen poised over the trophy with a hacksaw, saying to Nat, “You cut, I get to choose!”
The run of the day though was from junior Alastair Dugdale, who clocked the sizzling time of 18min 59sec, crossing the line fourth overall and beating home most of the senior runners. Fastest junior girl was Naomi Jamieson in 22min 25sec.
After handicaps were applied Nat Watson was the junior winner, from Naomi Jamieson and Alastair Dugdale third. Watson’s win also cemented his hold on the Junior Aggregate.
The sub-juniors ran a 1km race down the front of Big Hill and back to the top with Liam Scott first across the line to record the fastest time of 4min 55sec. Stacey Faravoni was the fastest girl in 5min 5sec. After the handicaps were applied young Tobias Blair scored the win from Liam Scott second, and Jack Butler third.