Saunders Wins on Handicap

Stawell Amateur Athletic Club held the Stawell Curtain Centre 10km Championship last Saturday at the Rifle Range Reserve, in fine conditions.

The race marked the three quarter point of the cross country season, with fourteen senior runners still in contention to win the 2004 club aggregate. It was also the last of the championship races so also decided the club champions for the season.

Run as a sealed handicap, all 20 senior runners set off together, with a lead group of Col Barnett, Gary Howden, Ray Scott, Stan Watson and Jon Dugdale soon establishing a break on the rest of the field.

By mid race, Barnett had moved away from Scott and Howden, with a number of individual tussles developing in mid field, spurring some runners to push themselves towards personal best performances.

Sharon Howden finished 5 seconds ahead of Fiona O’Brien, Stephen Baird 8 seconds ahead of Bob Freeland, Stan Watson was 14 seconds behind Jon Dugdale, while Meg Parnaby finished 3 seconds ahead of John Collins, but missed the 5 minutes per kilometer mark she has been chasing all season.

At the finish it was Col Barnett who crossed the line first in a snappy time of 36 min 34 sec with Ray Scott second and Gary Howden third. Fastest female was Jacinta Collier in 41 min 55 sec.

Being the last of the 4 championship races for the year, Barnett’s win gave him a clean sweep of all the championship races, and the title of Club Champion. Jacinta Collier won the Open Women’s Championship, and Sharon Howden the Veteran Women’s Championship.

Once handicaps were applied, it was Gary Saunders, the oldest competitor in the field, who took out the event in a time of 56 min and 8 sec, with Alexa Duke second and Stan Watson third.

Eleven juniors ran a 4km race with Karl Scott taking out line honours and the Junior Championship title in the smart time of 17 min 21 sec, followed by Nathan Watson second and Emily Parnaby third.

After handicaps Emily Parnaby scored her second win for the season with Nathan Watson in second place and Thomas Blair third.

Seven sub-juniors lined up for the 1.25km event. Richard Dugdale set the early pace closely followed by Liam Scott and Stacey Faravoni. Elly Barnett also put in a good run in the middle of the race, but the tussle for line honours between Dugdale and Scott continued to the finish with Dugdale winning by 76 one hundredths of a second.

When handicaps were applied, Liam Scott won by 8 seconds from Stacey Faravoni with Richard Dugdale third.

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