In an all female affair, Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runners Lindy Muller, Alexa Duke and Meg Parnaby produced one of the most exciting finishes in years, when Muller claimed victory within the final few metres to the line.
Competing in the Howdens of Stawell 8 kilometre handicap, Muller made the most of the 4 minute advantage over Duke and Parnaby that she started with, and by half way had overtaken front markers Gary Saunders and Carolyn Lehmann to take the lead. However, behind her Peter Hilbig and John Collins were starting to threaten, and Parnaby and Duke were having a real dual, with Parnaby getting the advantage up the hills, only to loose it again to Duke down the next.
With 400 metres to go, Muller still held a good lead up the final hill, with Parnaby closing the gap. Duke was still a little distance behind, but the last 200 metres was all down hill, and Duke took off.
First she passed Parnaby, then with only 20 metres to go, she passed Muller, but Muller had some fight left, and in a supreme effort fought back to just regain the lead a metre or two before the line. Parnaby finished third, three seconds behind.
Fastest time went to Jade Merrett, with 28 minutes 17 seconds. Susie Ellis was the quickest female in a time of 34 minutes 15 seconds.
The juniors also produced another exciting race, with Emily Parnaby and Emma Kelly battling it out over the 4 kilometre course.
Kelly lead Parnaby off by 20 seconds, but Parnaby hit the lead at about the half way point. Kelly dropped back slightly until the 3000 metre mark, then launched an attack. Parnaby responded, and only a few metres separated the runners all the way to the line, with Emily Parnaby just holding off Kelly by 1 second for victory.
Backmarker Nat Watson was third with the fastest junior time of 17 minutes 44 seconds. Emily Parnaby was the fastest junior girl with 18 minutes 24 seconds.
Sub-junior runner India Burns lead the field all the way to claim an easy victory in one of her fastest 2 kilometre times ever. Second home was Somer Darnell, with Tobias Blair third. Elly Barnett and Liam Burns were neck and neck all the way, resulting in Barnett posting the fastest sub-junior time of 8 minutes 53 seconds, 2 seconds ahead of Liam Burns who was the fastest sub-junior boy.