The rebirth of former Horsham 100 kilogram couch-potato Tim Harris rolled on at full force last Saturday when he skipped away with the opening event of the Stawell Athletic Club season despite a near catastrophe during the running.
The big-boned Tim was looking like a winner with just a kilometre to travel in the five kilometre Dooen Engineering Handicap when he was caught in a trance and veered spectacularly off course, despite the urgent pleadings of marshals Keith Haymes and Ray Rickard.
“With all the shouting going on I thought to myself some idiot isn’t paying attention and that idiot turned out to be me! I didn’t lose much ground as it turned out, but it was very embarrassing,” the 44-year-old factory worker said.
Tim was fortunate that the marshals were more alert than he was because his final winning margin, in a Horsham clean sweep of the race, was mere hundredths of a second over Gary Howden, with Gary’s wife, Sharon, 10 seconds away in a third place.
Tim, who only took up running in August 2010, has since dropped 20 kilograms in weight, has completely changed his body shape and contested three triathlons. Now training up to six days a week with “Super” Susie and Patrick Ellis, he has his sights set on a Canberra Half Ironman which is scheduled for December.
The event encapsulates a two kilometre swim, 90 kilometre bike ride and 21 kilometre run; quite a transformation for a bloke whose previous Saturday afternoon ritual had been limited to “barbecues and beers.”
Club veteran Bob Freeland pointed out that Tim has an unusual advantage over more seasoned sportsmen of his age.
“Being such a late starter in sport, Tim doesn’t have the same wear and tear on his body that others have to cope with. No wonder he’s such an enthusiast, but he’s worked hard and it’s great to see him getting some reward.”
Owen Roper made a stunning return to the club to record fastest time of 19 minutes 28 seconds. If his body stays sound he will be a serious threat to Col Barnett (19m 56s) who will be striving for back-to-back wins in the Ian Notting Club Championship.
In the two kilometre Junior Division of the Dooen, Luca O’Flynn never looked like losing while Oriana Panozzo earned bragging rights over her sister Mia by winning the Sub Juniors race, after a close battle.
By Keith Lofthouse