Too late getting home from work to enjoy a round of golf last Saturday saw Stawell landscaper Dave Hunter venture west for the eight kilometre Horsham Little Athletics Handicap and return with the spoils of victory.
The Stawell Amateur Athletic Club's most improved runner has moved from a front mark to a back mark in just two seasons with the club.
Weaving steadily through the field on a testing course which included a splash through water flowing freely over a ford at the Wimmera River, Hunter hit the lead with about one kilometre to travel and was too strong for determined chasers, Sharon Howden and Sandra Casey to extend his winning margin to 0.24 seconds.
The win continued the 36-year-old Hunter's transformation into a bona-fide athlete which all began with regular speed-training sessions under the guidance of Bob Freeland at Central Park on Monday evenings.
"I used to do some running by myself, but never thought about competitive running until I joined Bob's group," he said.
"The improvement I've made still surprises me because I don't do anything special, just one training run a week and beer and pizza on a Friday night."
On this relatively casual regimen, Hunter's body shape has completely changed. He has shed up to 10 kilograms from his waistline and his kilometre rates have improved by more than a minute since he started.
Also factoring in his fitness is regular rounds of golf and a busy landscaping business which doesn't allow for much couch time at home.
The sub-juniors put on a spirited 1.5 kilometre race before the seniors event, with Logan Casey recording fastest time of 6.51 minutes.
Alex Boan's second placing just nine seconds behind prevented Jacob Casey from securing a family quinella.
Race action returns to the Ironbarks tomorrow for the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap.
Fun runners are welcome to meet at the North Park clubrooms from 1.30pm.