Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Phil Burns was pressed hard over the final 300m of the Tyler’s Hardware handicap last Saturday, but held on to win from a fast finishing Susie Ellis.
A strong field of 22 senior runners tackled the 8000m course set along the banks of Horsham’s Wimmera River.
Running in his first year with the club, the flat and fast course was to Burn’s liking. Setting off after the front markers, he had reeled them in by the halfway point. With a strong tail wind pushing him home, he still had a commanding lead with 1500m to go, but Ellis was closing fast. It took a very determined effort over the final few hundred metres to cross the line first in a time of 43 minutes 01 second.
Suzie Ellis came home in second place 12 seconds later, with Ivan McDonald again in the placings another 38 seconds back in third place.
This was Burns first ever win with the club, after joining wife Carolyn and his 3 children at the start of the season, to make running a family affair.
Jade Merrett ran the fastest time of 30 minutes 28 seconds. Suzie Ellis was the quickest female in a time of 34 minutes 33 seconds.
Junior runner Sarah Ellis thrived on her home ground, taking out the 3000m handicap and posting her second win in two weeks with a time of 13 minutes 12 seconds. Emma Kelly was 61 seconds behind in her umteenth second placing for the year, with Nat Watson a further seven seconds back in third place.
Fastest junior boy was Daniel Faravoni in a time of 9 minutes 25 seconds. Emily Parnaby was the fastest junior girl with a time of 10 minutes 51 seconds.
The youngest runner in the field, Ky Merrett was a first time winner in the sub-junior 1500 metre handicap.
At 4 years old, Merrett put in an excellent run to lead all the way, holding out Liam Burns by a clear margin of 38 seconds for first place. In a sprint to the line Elly Barnett just nudged out Somer Darnell for third place.
Best sub-junior time was Liam Scott in 4 minutes 32 seconds. Elly Barnett was the quickest sub-junior girl in a time of 5 minutes 4 seconds.
Also on the day, runners ran without watches and had to estimate their race time. Closest estimate was Stan Watson, who ran a very close 3 seconds faster than his estimated time. Next was Ivan McDonald, who was 9 seconds faster, and Paul Atherton was third, 25 seconds slower.