Good early season training paid dividends for Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Marg Hyde when she took out the first race of the 2006 cross country season, the Dooen Engineering Handicap.
Held last Saturday in perfect running conditions through the bush reserve north of Stawell, twenty-six senior runners lined up for the challenging 5000 metre course.
Being a sealed handicap, with all runners starting together and handicaps applied after the race, no runner knew exactly how they were placed overall as they made their way around the undulating course.
First across the line and with the fastest time of the day was Col Barnett, running a quick time of 18min 6sec, having established a handy lead over Ray Scott, with Peter Steggall also showing good early season form to come in third.
However, after handicaps were applied, a jubilant Marg Hyde took out the event with a narrow 4sec win over Hanne Blair. Consistent early season performer Ray Scott was 22sec back in third. Fastest female was Susie Ellis in a time of 21min 2sec.
A small field of six junior runners set out over the 2000 metre course, with Horsham runner and triathlete Thomas Blair first across the line in a fast time of 8min 5sec. Second home was Emily Parnaby, with Richard Dugdale in third place, showing great promise in his first junior race, having stepped up from the sub-junior ranks of last year.
After handicaps were applied, Thomas Blair’s time was good enough to give him the race win, with Jasinta Cameron running well for second, and Emily Parnaby third, also posting the fastest junior female time of 9min 37sec.
The sub-juniors set off over a 1000m dash, with Tobias Blair and Elly Barnett emerging from the bush together to battle it out for line honours in a very exciting finish. Blair just held Barnett off by less than a second to claim line honours and fastest time of 5min 58sec.
After handicaps were applied, Elly Barnett took the race win from Blair with Liam Burns claiming third place. The fastest sub-junior girl was Elly Barnett in 5min 59sec.