A drunken bet has improved the health and changed the life of a mum who broke through for her maiden win at only her third run with the club in the 6.5 kilometre Telstra Store Handicap at Horsham last Saturday.
Justine Tracey, a geologist with the Stawell Gold Mines, made a bet with a colleague at a work party that she would beat him in the 11.5 kilometre Run the Gap at Halls Gap on May 27.
Justine stopped smoking “cold turkey,” joined the running club, started to train and ran a respectable 58.01 minutes at Halls Gap, but did not beat her workmate whom she would only describe as “a guy with very long legs.”
“He offered me a ten minute start but only beat me by three minutes, so technically I won the bet, but he still has his pride in place,” Justine said.
By her own admission, the lively rocker said she smoked too much and was “very unfit” but now the mother of two boasts a slim figure and can run distances she had never dreamed of before.
She has also joined the ranks of fleet-footed femmes who have dominated the club’s cross country season so far, winning six of the eight races.
Maintaining a steady and determined pace on the flat and fast course that stretches down Cameron Road in Horsham, Justine chased resolutely and was too nippy for bearded veteran Gary Saunders, a past winner of the race, to score by a decisive 1 minute 13 seconds with the consistent Sharon Howden finishing third for the fourth time a further 15 seconds away.
Race sponsor Gary Howden recorded best time of 26 minutes 40 seconds on his home course ending a sequence of four fastest times set by Club Champion, Col Barnett.
The hotly contested Juniors race, over three kilometres, was won in dashing style by the promising Paris Panozzo in a sparkling 18 minutes 25 seconds, while Armani Scollary had just seven seconds to spare over Layla Atherton in a keenly-fought Sub-Juniors race over one kilometre.
By Keith Lofthouse