Saun­ders steps up to take out Stawell me­mo­rial run

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Sport -

Gary Saun­ders, who can lay claim to be­ing the old­est ‘pro­fes­sional’ cross-coun­try run­ner in Vic­to­ria, stunned chasers by win­ning the eight-kilo­me­tre Lind­say Kent Me­mo­rial Hand­i­cap at Stawell on Sun­day.

The race was one of the few races on the Stawell and Ararat Cross Coun­try Club cal­en­dar to have eluded him be­fore this year.

The 77-year-old with the long, flow­ing grey beard, put a lie to pre-race chat­ter that Jack Troun­son had the race ‘in the bag’ by chug­ging to the time­keep­ers with 50 sec­onds to spare from the 651-run vet­eran, with San­dra Bar­wick a bat­tling third.

“I had a real tus­sle with San­dra for the first cou­ple of kilo­me­tres and that helped me to make good time,” Saun­ders said.

“I re­ally like a hilly course be­cause I see that as a chal­lenge.

“I run hills well be­cause I train on Stawell’s Big Hill and can ac­tu­ally make up ground on hills.

“Be­sides that I do gym and 100-me­tre sprints at Cen­tral Park.”

Stawell Am­a­teur Ath­letic Club joined the Ararat Club for the race within a race, with both clubs pre­sent­ing sashes to their win­ners.

At the other end of the age scale, rookie Kate Field broke through at only her third of­fi­cial run with the Stawell club, edg­ing out fel­low rookie Michelle Dunn who was un­lucky not to win the week be­fore af­ter mis­tak­ing the course.

Saun­ders, who runs with both was third. “This is a real sur­prise to me,” Field said. “I never thought this would hap­pen so early. I’ve al­ways liked long-dis­tance run­ning and fun runs, but I wanted some­thing more, and the club has been so wel­com­ing.”

The Stawell-based myother­a­pist said she is ‘lov­ing the chal­lenge of com­pe­ti­tion’ and now has a half-marathon in her sights.

In the am­a­teur’s one-kilo­me­tre sub-ju­niors race, Si­enna San­tuc­cione held on grimly for a nar­row win over con­sis­tent trier Olivia Hunter, with Nate Lyons a close third.

Both clubs re­vert to five kilo­me­tres for their re­spec­tive races this week­end.

The am­a­teurs cel­e­brate the Stan and Karen Wat­son Hand­i­cap at Stawell, while the Ararat club heads to Dun­newor­thy Com­mon for the Ararat Hand­i­cap.

Fun run­ners are wel­come and de­tails are on the club web­sites. clubs,

BEST FOOT FOR­WARD: Sub ju­niors run for fun at Stawell at the week­end.

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