Hat-trick vic­tory

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

Stawell and Ararat Cross Coun­try Club pres­i­dent Peter Gib­son be­lieves his­tory was cre­ated when vet­eran run­ner Keith Loft­house won the race Gib­son spon­sors at Ararat’s Dun­newor­thy Com­mon on Sun­day.

“I don’t think any­one in our 51 years has ever man­aged to win the same spon­sored race in three con­sec­u­tive years,” Gib­son, him­self a 32-year vet­eran of the club, said at the post-race pre­sen­ta­tion.

The fourth run­ning of the Gib­son was dom­i­nated by stal­warts Loft­house, the youngest at age 69, win­ning the eight-kilo­me­tre event from sep­tu­a­ge­nar­i­ans Gary Saun­ders and Jack Troun­son, who have notched just on 1240 club runs be­tween all three.

“I’m a real horses for cour­ses run­ner,” Loft­house said. “And Peter’s course with its long flat stretch and grad­ual in­cline to the one big hill be­fore a fast down­hill suits me down to the ground.”

Fifth in the first Gib­son of 2015, the wiry Loft­house, de­spite his age­ing pins, has clocked faster times in his three wins: 42.43 min­utes in 2016, then 41.18 and 40.28 on Sun­day.

“There’s no ques­tion that you do learn how to run a course and this was a drier year with lit­tle wind. I also have Jack Troun­son to thank for pil­ing on the pres­sure when climb­ing the hill and then forc­ing the pace again in the last kilo­me­tre,” he said.

Loft­house knew that Troun­son, with metal screws in both an­kles, was in some pain be­fore the race and was limp­ing af­ter­wards, but what he didn’t know was that Troun­son lost mo­men­tum when he had to stop to tie a shoelace and also suf­fered a sud­den nose­bleed.

“It could well have been a much dif­fer­ent story,” Loft­house said.

“A fully fit Jack will blow me away ev­ery time, but that’s the beauty of hand­i­cap rac­ing, the slow­est can beat the fastest and the old­est can spank the youngest.”

A five-kilo­me­tre Clem Hall Me­mo­rial in Stawell on Sun­day is the club’s penul­ti­mate race of the season.

The club wel­comes fun run­ners.

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