Stawell Amateur Athletic club runner Sarah Ellis took the mud and hills in her stride last Saturday, taking out the McDonald’s Hairdressing Handicap with a strong and determined effort. The steadily improving Ellis notched up her first senior win after stepping up from the junior ranks at the beginning of the season.
Held over a hilly 8km course at Three Jacks, just out of Stawell, the cold wet weather kept the numbers down to 20 senior runners. Wen Zhai, along with last years race winner Carol Lehman, led the field away, with Sarah Ellis and Gary Saunders not far behind.
By the half way mark Ellis had reeled in the front markers and had her sights set for home.
Further back the middle markers were making up ground with Bob Freeland, Peter Blair and Steve Baird setting a good pace. But Ellis handled the final hills well and coasted to the line a full minute ahead of Bob Freeland, with Sarah’s mother Susie Ellis charging through the field to grab third place.
Kieran Ryan ran the fastest time of the day with 29 minutes 9 sec. Susie Ellis was the fastest female in a time of 34 minutes 17 sec.
The juniors tackled a 4km course with Ebony Darnell leading the field away. However, by the half way mark Emily Parnaby had reeled her in, then held the lead to finish in first place, with Darnell coming home second.
Parnaby also ran the fastest junior time of 16 minutes 24 sec.
The sub-juniors set off over a 1km out and back course, with India Burns leading off.
However, Tobias Blair soon took the lead, going on win by nearly a minute over second placed Liam Burns, with India Burns third. Blair ran the fastest sub-junior time of 4 minutes 28 sec.