It was an all female affair when Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runners Lindy Muller, Emma Kelly and India Burns took the major prizes in all three age categories during last Saturdays Howdens of Stawell Handicap.
Muller, running in her first season with the club, got off to a good start in the 24 strong senior field. One of the first runners away, she settled into a steady rhythm for the 8km course, and soon overtook early race leader Gary Saunders.
Back in the field, as in recent weeks, Ivan McDonald, Peter Steggall and Col Barnett were making their presence felt, and had Muller in their sights. Gary Howden and Ray Scott were also running well.
However, Muller entered the long final leg still holding a commanding lead. Ivan McDonald was gradually closing the gap, but Muller handled the hills well to hang on and take out her first ever win.
With 200m to go, McDonald was overtaken by Peter Steggall, then Col Barnett, who finished in that order to take the minor placings, leaving McDonald to come home in fourth place.
Col Barnett recorded the fastest race time of 29 minutes 49 sec. Susie Ellis was the fastest female in 34 minutes 50 sec.
The juniors tackled a 4 km course, with Emma Kelly setting out hard from the start. Shaun Parnaby and Emily Parnaby closed the gap slowly, but Kelly ran strongly over the closing stages to score a good win. Shaun Parnaby came in second with sister Emily third.
Daniel Faravoni ran the fastest junior time of 16 minutes 36 sec, with Emily Parnaby the fastest junior girl in 17 minutes 41 sec.
In the sub-junior 2km event, Layla Atherton and India Burns battled for the lead for the entire race, until Burns managed to gain the advantage over the final 200m, to score her first ever win. Atherton was second, with Liam Burns just holding out Elly Barnett for third place.
Liam Scott and Elly Barnett both ran equal fastest sub-junior times of 9 minutes 21 sec.