It didn’t take long for Stawell policeman Tom Rodgers to stamp his authority on the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club by winning the ten kilometre Shane and Robyn Young Sportspower Handicap by the widest margin of thirteen races this year.
Rodgers has having only his second run with the club. His first, in mid-May when he clocked fastest time in the five kilometre Stephen Baird Handicap, ended not so happily.
Fourth in that race after handicaps were applied, Rodgers disappeared post-race into the forest for a lengthy warm down, and returned to the start to find that everyone had left leaving him stranded with no phone, no wallet or car keys, and shivering with no change of clothes.
Chillingly it crossed his mind that he might have been the victim of an opportunistic thief!
In clear distress, Rodgers found fortune when he connected with course managers in the process of picking up witches’ hats. One phoned ahead to confirm that his essentials were safe before they were promptly dispatched to the scene of the “crime.”
“Someone had picked everything up, not knowing who it belonged to, and had taken it to the clubrooms,” a much more settled Rodgers explained.
In his maiden win, Rodgers again recorded fastest time, a scintillating 38 minutes flat on a course with more up than downs. The hills are there to test the survival of the fittest. And it’s comforting to know that this twenty-eight-year-old policeman is a fitness fiend, already a veteran of triathlons, half-marathons and half-ironmans who quietly mentioned that he prepared for the race by running 60 kilometres during the week.
After surging to the lead with 1.5 km to run, Rodgers exploded away from the nearest chaser, Matilda Iglesias, to win by a staggering 3.37 minutes…about the equivalence of a kilometre in fact. No less a talent than endurance specialist, Kieran Ryan, was a distant third.
In the one kilometre Sub Juniors race, Claire Christian earned bragging rights over the boys Tom Whyte and Flynn Davies with a narrow win.
On Saturday, the 16km Keith Haymes Living Legend Handicap celebrates the life of the club’s 91-year-old founder. Fun runners are welcome.