Gal­lagher shines in cross coun­try

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

Simon Gal­lagher ven­tured out for a single train­ing run last week, tak­ing on Ararat’s for­mi­da­ble One Tree Hill, but it was a tough enough work­out to pre­pare him for a run­away win in a 6.5-kilo­me­tre Stawell and Ararat Cross Coun­try Club hand­i­cap run.

Skim­ming across the glis­ten­ing Con­con­gella Vine­yard grass, the long-strid­ing 27-year-old was not only 1.41 min­utes faster than Ian Mc­cready, who was next to fin­ish, but also dom­i­nated the race on hand­i­cap. He held a 52-sec­ond mar­gin over placeget­ters Keith Loft­house and Nathan Ben­delle.

Club-mates are adamant Gal­lagher could win a Stawell Gift two-miler if he trained prop­erly but that’s not even a smoul­der­ing am­bi­tion for the power-packed run­ner, who re­mains as laid­back as they come.

“Ev­ery­one says that I could do so much bet­ter,” he said. “But that’s go­ing to need a lot of mo­ti­va­tion. For me, it just feels good to run as fast as I can for as long as I can, with­out putting my­self un­der stress at the end of a race.”

Clean sweep

It was a race for the ‘ages’ when three ris­ing sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­ans fought out the fin­ish of a five-kilo­me­tre hand­i­cap run Stawell.

Terry Jenk­ins, 70 in Au­gust, staved off the chal­lenges of ‘young­sters’ Stephen Baird, 66, and Keith Loft­house, 68, to win his first race with Stawell Am­a­teur Ath­letic Club in 16 years.

Be­tween them the at placeget­ters have chalked up more than 100 years of com­pet­i­tive run­ning and at least a thou­sand races. Jenk­ins and Loft­house have run mul­ti­ple marathons, while Baird boasts ‘about 20’ pro­fes­sional track wins over dis­tances up to 400 me­tres.

Re­ceiv­ing a minute’s start from Loft­house un­der the hand­i­cap con­di­tions, Jenk­ins knew he had to stick on the tail of his steady-go­ing club-mate to be a win­ning chance.

“We had a bit of a bat­tle, but Keith had too many kilo­me­tres in his legs and drew away at the end. But I fin­ished close enough to get the win.”

Baird split the pair once hand­i­caps were ap­plied.

In a sub-ju­nior di­vi­sion, Tom Collins scored a nar­row win over Jor­dan Nitschke with Hope Need not far be­hind.

Both clubs have byes this week­end but Stawell am­a­teur club mem­bers travel to Hor­sham for a 6.5-kilo­me­tre hand­i­cap on June 17 and Stawell and Ararat Cross Coun­try Club will tackle its first eight-kilo­me­tre race of the sea­son, the Fenn Fam­ily Hand­i­cap at Ararat’s Mcdon­ald Park on June 18.

Vet­eran Terry Jenk­ins

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