Grampians cycling supremo Meg Parnaby showed rare versatility when she capped off a successful season on two wheels with a surprising victory on foot in the eight kilometre David O. Jones Mitre 10 Handicap. The race was held in the Ironbarks Forest, near Stawell, last Saturday.
Meg, who had failed to finish on the podium and had been placed tenth or worse in five of her eight starts for the club this season, turned all that poor form around to defy Steve Baird, who has now been runner-up at his past three starts for the club. Meg just held on to win from the fast finishing Baird, who pushed her to the limit for the last few hundred metres.
Third to finish was the consistent Gaynor (“I’m no good on the hills”) Radovic who leads the club aggregate with four seconds and three thirds – hills and all – in her 11 starts for the year.
Meg, who was greeted at the finished by husband Peter, filling-in for an ailing John Collins as timekeeper for the day, was as surprised as anyone by the win as her training had been somewhat curtailed by having to visit the couples’ sick parents in hospital during the previous few weeks. The club wish John and the Parnabys speedy recoveries from their illnesses.
Meg explained: “I was only able to have the one run this week, but I won this same race last year, so it seems that the course suits me. I certainly seem to run well on it.”
Meg and Peter, our ever-reliable club photographer and webmaster, share their winter weekends either riding or running and have won five races, of up to 60 kilometres distance, with the Grampians Veterans cycling group this season.
Fastest time for the Mitre 10 Handicap was recorded by David McAllister, who stormed to the line in a blistering 29 minutes, 26 seconds…the first to smash through the 30 minute barrier in three 8km races this year. Club champion Nathaniel Warren also went under the half-hour mark, but was 23 seconds behind his arch rival.
Gaynor, Nathaniel and Charlotte Hilbig used the race as a warm-up for the Adelaide Marathon this weekend where they will be joined by fellow club members, Kim Baker and Kylie Murtagh.
By Keith Lofthouse