After a year dogged by injuries, everything finally came together for Stawell Amateur Athletic Club runner Adrian Tyler last Saturday when he stormed to victory in the closing stages of the David O Jones Mitre 10 handicap. It was his first race win for several seasons.
Held in fine, warm conditions, 21 senior runners tackled the undulating 6500m bushland course near Deep Lead.
Carolyn Lehmann, Gary Saunders and Hanne Blair led the field away, with mid field markers Peter Barham and Alexa Duke also showing good early pace.
By mid race Saunders and Blair had reeled in a tiring Lehmann. Meg Parnaby, Alexa Duke and Peter Barham were closing in on the leaders, with Adrian Tyler moving quickly through the field behind.
With 1000m to go, Saunders still held a slender lead over Blair, with Parnaby, Barham and Duke close behind. Tyler still had plenty of work to do with over a minute to make up on Saunders, but he tackled the remaining hills hard and hit the front with 400m to go.
A fast downhill finish saw him stretch out his lead to win by 10sec from Saunders, who hung on for second. Peter Barham crossed the line third just holding out backmarker Col Barnett by 1 second.
Steve Page ran the fastest race time with a sizzling 21 minutes 58sec. Invitational runner Jacinta Collier was the quickest female in 25 minutes 27sec.
The juniors tackled a 4km course. Emma Kelly lead the field away, followed by Greta Duke. However, Shaun Parnaby was too strong and surged to the lead with about 1000m to go. Parnaby went on to win by a good margin of 32 seconds from Duke second with Kelly hanging on for third.
Shaun Parnaby was the fastest junior boy in 16 minutes 44sec. Emily Parnaby recorded the fastest junior girls time of 16 minutes 40sec.
Liam Burns showed an impressive turn of speed to take out the sub-junior 2000m event. Burns left the rest of the field well behind to win by 61 seconds from backmarker Liam Scott. Scott blasted his way through the field in the final 600m to relegate Tobias Blair to third place within sight of the finish line.
Liam Scott was the fastest sub-junior boy in 7 minutes 45sec. Elly Barnett ran the fastest sub-junior girls time of 9 minutes 32sec.