Horsham’s Sharon Howden relied on a wealth of experience to turn back the clock last Saturday and win her first race with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club since September 2012.
Uncertain about her level of fitness in her first event of the cross country season, the former club champion (female) began at a conservative pace and warmed into the five kilometre Barham Insurance Handicap knowing that the toughest part of the Ironbarks course was at the end and not the beginning.
A recent convert to the golf course, Howden now has a reduced training regime which is focused on Horsham’s early morning group running, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and racing on a third day.
“I’m really pleased that the club has changed to morning races which has freed up my time and gives me more opportunity to play golf,” she said.
“I really can’t remember the last race I won – it’s been so long due to a run of niggling injuries but a lot of those seem to have passed since I’ve eased the pressure on my training.”
First to cross the line was promising teenager Tom Walker who sped over the distance in an impressive 18 minutes to burn off his main rival and first race winner Raine Mackley.
When handicaps were applied, however, Howden had a comfortable margin with another youngster, Luca O’Flynn sneaking into third place at his first official run with the seniors.
In the one kilometre Sub-Junior division of the race Jordan Nitschke had enough of a handicap advantage to win the medal over the fast-finishing Lily O’Flynn and earn bragging rights over brother Jay Jay in third place.
The club returns to the Ironbarks next Saturday for the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap. Fun runners are welcome and should meet at the North Park clubrooms at 9.30am or ring 53562493 for details.