Stawell Amateur Athletic Club champion Nathaniel Warren is on track for a tilt at a three hour Adelaide Marathon in August after his barnstorming finish to snatch victory in the five kilometre Axis Employment Handicap at Stawell on Saturday.
Lying tenth with a kilometre to run, Warren was working hard and looked out of contention until he changed up a gear on the last hill in the Ironbarks.
Veteran Robert Freeland was the last frontmarker to tumble, almost catching windburn as Warren breezed past him, and it was then left to promising youngster, Luca O’Flynn to chase the winner to the timekeepers.
It has long been Warren’s ambition to run a sub-three hour Marathon in Adelaide but he has been thwarted in several attempts by illness and injury during the run.
“I’m probably about 30 seconds down on the race pace and training pace I’m aiming for,” the Stawell policeman said. “I’m not adjusting too well to the shift work which has reduced my sleep hours from six to about four-and-a-half, but I should fire up now that my dad is helping me train.”
“Rabbit” Warren has always suffered from a lack of training partners to match strides with him, but
Glenn Warren, a sub-14 minute five kilometre runner in his prime, has provided motivation and support riding his bike abreast of his son during challenging runs of up to 30 kilometres.
O’Flynn, already a winner this season, ran a remarkable race from a tough handicap.
He kept pace with former club champion and race sponsor Colin Barnett for much of the event but was running within himself until Barnett urged him not to wait.
It was then the 15-year-old discovered Warren-like afterburners to finish with a dazzling burst which ensures he will win again before the season is done.
The club returns to the Ironbarks for the eight kilometre Stawell Toyota Handicap on Saturday. Meet at the North Park clubrooms from 9.30am. Fun runners are welcome.