Stawell policeman Nathaniel Warren doesn’t lay claim to being the fastest in the force but would back himself if ever he gave chase to an offender attempting to escape the law.
A gifted runner, with a pugnacious style, Nathaniel won his first race with the club since saluting in the same event two years ago when he skipped through rain and slush to space the chasers in the three kilometre Chris Blake Handicap.
Few winners of the long-established race, the fastest on the SAAC calendar, have broken 11 minutes, but Nathaniel scooted over the distance in a sparkling 10 minutes 52 seconds to leave his nearest rival, Gary Howden, wallowing in the mud 50 seconds behind.
Nathaniel was well off the pace of the scintillating 9 minutes 48 seconds he ran in 2010, which stands as a modern record, but conditions were much more favourable that day and, by his own admission, he isn’t yet at the same level of fitness.
“I didn’t run with the club last year because I was training in Melbourne (at the Police Academy) and running wasn’t high on my list of priorities,” he said.
“Even now that I’m back in Stawell, working a lot of night shift, I haven’t been able to train as much as I would like, but I’m getting there and I actually went better than I thought I would today.”
The young constable intends to step up his endurance training now in readiness to join 80,000 others who will tackle the gruelling 14 kilometre City to Surf in Sydney on August 12.
“It might take me five years, but eventually I want to run a marathon in under three hours. I ran a 3 hours 9 mniutes in 2008, but I was much too conservative and finished the race really strongly. I know I can do much better.”
The surprise of the race, once handicaps were adjusted, was the effort of Meg Parnaby to finish second after only a handful of starts this year, just 13 seconds from the winner. Horsham’s Darryl Scollary was third, just one second in advance of local veteran Stephen Baird.
“Super” Susie Ellis was the fastest female in 13 minutes15 seconds and did not seem hampered in the slightest by briefly joining hands with husband Patrick (13 minutes 12 seconds) during the race!
Meggy Boan, a three time winner this year, took another “hit” from the handicapper and finished 13th, but her energetic kids, Jessica and Alex, flew the flag by winning the Junior and Sub-Junior divisions of the race.
By Keith Lofthouse