A MORE aggressive attitude to training rewarded fitness instructor Rachel Coverdale with a satisfying win in the five kilometre David O Jones Stawell Mitre 10 Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
From her back mark, she could see the entire field stretched out in front of her as she began one of the steadier climbs through the Ironbarks.
She had momentum on her side and gradually picked off the front markers one by one to have the race in control for the last kilometres.
Sven O'Flynn, still not fully fit, showed courage to edge out Robert Freeland for second place in a desperate drive for the line with Rhonda Rice showing improved form by battling into fourth place.
Coverdale lacks little in fitness, conducting eight group training sessions per week at Stawell YMCA as well as putting a number of her personal training clients through their paces.
Her race times with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club had stagnated until she began challenging herself at Stawell's Big Hill every Wednesday with waif-like clubmate Meggy Boan whose work ethic is relentless.
"I'm fitter, I'm stronger and have a lot more stamina since I've been running the Big Hill," Coverdale said.
"To run hills effectively you have to train on them. It's given me confidence and I'm able to finish off my races with more strength than I have before."
She plans to run in the Stawell Hospital half-marathon on October 3 and is hopeful of a personal best from her third attempt at the 21km.
Horsham's Nitschke brothers made a worthwhile trip down the highway for a one kilometre dash in the sub juniors races with Jordan prevailing to win bragging rights over Jay Jay and Lily O'Flynn splitting the pair.
A tougher challenge awaits in the eight kilometre Stawell Toyota Handicap at Stawell tomorrow with race distances building towards the 16 kilometre Hyperno Marathon warm up on September 13.
Fun runners are welcome.