Barnett runs best on some rest
Col Barnett, one of the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s most decorated runners, recorded one of the most satisfying wins of his long career in a 10-kilometre Run for Ray at Stawell.
“I’m the best I’ve been for five years. I’m running a minute quicker than last year and I’m enjoying my running,” he said.
Barnett, 54, has started in every race on the club’s 2017 calendar, something he has not been able to achieve for years due to a succession of niggling injuries that have brought premature ends to his seasons.
“They key has been not to train as hard as I have in the past,” he said.
“I was down to just 20 kilometres a week and having plenty of rest. I’ve built that up to 30, only because I’m race fit and running with more confidence.”
He did have a stroke of fortune at the weekend when Vicki Tyler and Sharon Howden, the pre-race favourites who travelled with him down from Horsham, were accidentally waved off course and ran a kilometre further than required.
Even evergreen runner-up, 75-yearold Gary Saunders, came unstuck when he failed to see orange markers and also strayed ‘out of bounds’.
Barnett’s 20-second winning margin might have flattered him but no one begrudges the fastest runners a win because under handicap conditions they have to give everyone else a start.
The race is in memory of Ray Scott, a past president of the club, who died tragically while on a training run in the Ironbarks in 2010.
“I’ve always enjoyed this race. It’s one of my favourites on the course that Ray liked to train on,” Barnett said.
Improving youngster Miles Membrey enjoyed a muddy jaunt in a sub-junior race to defeat Olivia Hunter and Kayla Membrey in a one-kilometre dash.
The seniors face an endurance challenge in the Stawell Ironbarks this Saturday in the 16-kilometre Stephen Baird Handicap on a spectacular figure-eight course. Fun runners are welcome.
Perennial achiever Jack Trounson runs with metal screws in both ankles, the legacy of an accident not related to running. But he has never rested long enough to go rusty.
The veteran of a record 631 runs with Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club, Trounson reached another milestone when posting his 13th win in his 40th year with the club in the 6.5-kilometre Watkins Family Handicap at Warrak on Sunday.
It’s a demanding slog, with steep climbs, daunting downhills and a tricky trek across a sloping paddock that tests the sturdiest ankles.
But few 69-year-olds are tougher than Trounson who, in relative terms, has twice circled the globe in a lifetime of 90,000 training kilometres and over 4000 racing.
On a recent holiday to Hervey Bay, Trounson defied heat and humidity with hour long runs on most days and on an earlier adventure in May, on the fringe of Australia’s Simpson Desert, recorded hothouse runs at Lake Eyre and Dalhousie Springs.
“The alternative to running an hour a day is stopping,” he said, “and I can’t do that.”
So, no wonder he was too tough in the Watkins, always in command and powering to a 0.33-minute win over two of the club’s elite, Peter Gibson – his usual training partner – and Simon Gallagher.
Trounson had won this race before back in 2006, not of course when the race was a ‘flat as a tack’ run from the Warrak hamlet, but now when its idiosyncrasies tests the mettle of the weak, and the willing.
The club has a bye this weekend before the King of the Hill, a challenging three-kilometre climb to the top of Ararat’s forbidding One Tree Hill on September 10. Fun runners are invited to try.