Being the oldest runner in the field didn’t hold back Gary Saunders when he charged home to take out the handicap section of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s combined Time Keeper’s Handicap and 5km Championship, held last Saturday.
Staged as a sealed handicap, all runners set off together, with first across the line taking the championship points. Handicaps were then applied post race to determine the overall race winner.
First male and female runners across the line were Horsham’s Jade Merrett and Susie Ellis. Merrett took the lead early in the first kilometer and was never headed. He won the Open Male Championship from Col Barnett and Adrian Tyler in a time of 18 minutes 3 seconds.
Ellis, who is training for a full Ironman event later this year, also scored a comfortable win, taking out the Female Championship from Ilana Jorgensen and Margie Hide in a time of 21 minutes 56 seconds.
This was the third race of four in the Championship series and leaves the event wide open in all senior categories. The final 10k event later in the year will decide the 2007 winners.
After handicaps were applied, Gary Saunders notched up his first win for the year, 13 seconds ahead of second placed Col Barnett, with Stan Watson just two seconds back in third. Tight handicapping saw the first 14 places separated by only 1 minute 18 sec, giving most runners a chance to get into the places.
The juniors set off with the senior runners and completed the same course. Daniel Faravoni ran impressively to win his third Junior Boys Championship race for the season in a time of 19 minutes 39 sec.
Faravoni was pushed all the way by senior runner Adrian Tyler and ended up with the fourth fastest time for the day. Emily Parnaby was also impressive taking her third Junior Girls Championship race for the year to go clear in the series. She was the second fastest female overall with a time of 22 minutes 30 sec.
After the junior handicaps were applied, Nat Watson was a clear winner from Daniel Faravoni and Emily Parnaby. The aggregate in the juniors is up for grabs with only 8 points separating the top four runners.
India Burns notched up another win in the sub-juniors over the 1 km course. She won from Georgia Barnett with Kye Merrett third. Fastest sub-junior boy was Liam Burns in a time of 4 minutes 29 sec and Somer Darnell was the quickest sub-junior girl in a time of 5 minutes 8 sec.