Rookie wins after battle of the ages
For 6.4 kilometres of a 6.5-kilometre Concongella Vineyards Handicap on Saturday it was a war of attrition between a fresh-faced rookie and a wily veteran… and it came down to a 100-metre sprint that finally blew the greybeard away.
Michelle Dunn’s first win with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club was well overdue after her rare run of four consecutive seconds; twice to fellow rookies and twice to runners at least twice her age.
A generation separated Dunn from the 71-year-old runner-up Terry Jenkins but a mere five seconds separated them at the finish.
Dunn was the fourth first-season female to win this year and now, at the half-way mark in 2019, the honours are shared evenly with the men. In the sub-juniors one kilometre dash it was the boys’ time to shine with Jerome Baker holding on bravely to win narrowly from Nate Lyons and Charlie Dunn.
The club travels to Horsham on Saturday to join in a 6.5-kilometre run. All ages are welcome.
Van shakes off injury
Adrian van Raaphorst, Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club’s most durable runner, again showed his remarkable resistance to injury when he defied five weeks of hamstring issues to win the eight-kilometre Thompson Family Handicap on Sunday.
Shoulders pumping in his typically pugnacious style, the former school teacher punched his way to the lead in the last quarter of the race and greeted the timekeepers with a 37 second margin over Sandra Barwick, with Jack Trounson a similar distance behind in third.
Surprisingly, it was van Raaphorst’s first win in the 21st running of the race, one of the very few in the club’s 20-race season to have eluded the 585-run veteran.
His only absence in the club’s past 103 races was at Great Western in 2016 when he got the race dates confused. He is certain to line-up again in the eight-kilometre Trounson Family Handicap at Ararat on Sunday. Fun runners are welcome.