PETER Pearson maintained some pride for the local runners by finishing second in the Flexible Solutions Bacchus on the Lake on Good Friday, half a minute behind winner Arnold Bartlett from Deniliquin and a minute ahead of Urana’s Sam Mallow in third.
Conditions were close to ideal with runners treated to a firm and fast track, and the race getting away to a quick and clean start.
Tarek Heiland and Mallow took the front positions right from the gun with Pearson letting them lead but ensuring the gap was a manageable distance.
At the short but painful Sail Club hill at the 3.5km point, there were significant moves afoot with Bartlett coming through from fourth to the front as Pearson attempted to hold on and Mallow and Heiland lost ground.
By the causeway, Bartlett had a race-winning lead of 50m and was never challenged again, finishing with a new
record time on this course of 35:09 for the 10km.
Pearson kept up the pace, racing to stay away from his shadows for second place and was suffering, but was happy with his time.
Mallow finished third while Heiland had to hold off a last-ditch challenge from a fast-closing Rodney Savage.
Tracey Josling claimed her second Bacchus title and her first since 2007 as she ran her usual “never look back” race, paying no mind to her competiton and simply running flat chat – and to show age is not wearying, her time was two minutes faster this year.
Jesse Wythes took an early lead but Josling and Sharon Careri cruised past like it was a walk in the park and had to settle for third, while Careri dropped two minutes behind Josling by the line to earn second.
Many of the field of 128 runners commented on the encouragement and support given by the crowd of walkers also out completing the course, making their efforts a little lighter and brighter.
At the same time, a field of 229 completed the fast and furious 5km sprint race dominated by the junior pairing of Hugo Forlico from Griffith and James Trevaskis from Wagga.
The start was, as always, a bunfight as the wannabes and masked crusaders sprinted off from the gun – but they soon flagged, and when the pace really settled in it was Forlico and Trevaskis, who know each other from school events, that were alone at the front.
They were neck and neck all the way around until the push to the finish with 100m to go, when Forlico showed a faster finish and claimed the title by a few seconds, leaving Trevaskis to ponder over his tactics for their next meeting.
These two not only won their age group but took the honours outright while Shaun Flood at third overall was winner of the senior male category.
Brock Twigg was fourth but excelled to take bronze in the juniors, while Abby Favell (ninth) was the best junior female with a new course record of 20:32, and the fastest senior female was Oriana Foschi (12th).
The conclusion is that the seniors have a little catching up to do.
The Griffith Joggers received high praise for the well-organised and well-run event, with improved technology allowing for full results and certificates on the spot.
Runners will be aching to get back to the hill this week for race one of the Winter Competition – the oldest unchanged course on the program – with a choice of 6km or 3km runs.
The short course will move back to the old system with only walkers on the zero handicap, and all runners will have a minimum five minute start time – no runners starting before five minutes.
Grab Monday's The Area News for full results from the Bacchus on the Lake.