Tough Matilda Waltzes to Lucky Win

Endurance specialist Matilda Iglesias scored one of the luckiest wins in the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s 50-year history when she pipped greybeard Gary Saunders on the post in the five kilometre

Horsham Physiotherapy and Podiatry Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.

Saunders, the 74-year-old club Methuselah, had stopped a few metres short of the line, losing precious seconds before being made aware of the error that cost him a remarkable second win in three races.

Once handicaps for the race were adjusted, it was determined that Iglesias had beaten the evergreen by a mere six seconds, with club speedster Colin Barnett finishing fast for third.

It was a classic case of the rabbit chasing the hare when the swift took on the swiftest from the word “go.”

“I tried to stick with Mark Urqhuart for as long as I could but he was just too fast!” declared “Waltzing” Matilda, as if dragged out of her comfort zone to perform the jitterbug.

The tactic, however, proved decisive even if fortune smiled on her. The torrid pace meant that Iglesias ran a much stronger first two kilometres than she normally would and a faster five kilometres overall.

The gently undulating course was like a picnic in the park for Iglesias who is a regular on the running event calendar all over the state.

Already this year she has tackled the Peak and Trails Run at Dunkeld, the Wings for Life at night run in Melbourne, the Werribee Mansion 10km and the Run Forrest Half Marathon through the Otway Ranges; all this from a 36-year-old mum who started running just six years ago, almost on a whim.

“I saw running as the epitome of fitness. I tried it because it looked so easy, but when I started I was amazed how quickly I ran out of puff. I just kept at it until it became much easier.”

Since Iglesias began her 5km times have toppled from around 28 minutes to just on 22 minutes. In other words, she is now running 5kms faster than she once did 4kms.

Her next challenge is the Afterglow Half Marathon along the surf coast from Point Addis to Torquay in November.

In the one kilometre Sub-Junior section of Saturday’s race a smiling Jack Urquhart posted his first win of the season having resisted strong challenges from the consistent Membrey siblings, Miles and Kayla.

The club travels a short hop down the Navarre Road this Saturday for the Concongella Vineyards Handicap, a unique 6.5 kilometre race among the vines. Fun runners are welcome.


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