Ryan at top for Alaska Peaks

Endurance athlete Kieran Ryan ran his usual twenty-five to thirty kilometres up and down the hills, trails and mountains of Halls Gap, before he travelled to Horsham and switched on the after burners to soar to a stunning win in the Telstra Shop Handicap.

Kieran Ryan in action.

Kieran Ryan in action.

The 6.5 kilometre Stawell Amateur Athletic Club event, stretching along the flats of Horsham's Cameron Road, might have seemed like a walk in the park for the Stawell superman, but on tired legs the race was no picnic.

"It's quite hard to run the distances that I do at a comfortable pace and then try and run a shorter distance as fast as you can.

"It really involves a different set of body mechanics," Ryan said.

Ryan distinguishes the shorter competitive races as "k-fillers" or necessary kilometres that help relieve the loneliness of the long distance runner as he prepares for more gruelling assignments.

Reigning club champion Nathaniel Warren stuck like glue to the heir apparent out in front.

The pair chatted away for the first four kilometres before Ryan poured on the pressure.

Once handicaps were adjusted a mere 0.02 seconds prevented Warren from achieving back-to-back wins.

Race sponsor Gary Howden was a distant third to complete the third all-male trifecta in as many races this season.

Ryan was out pounding another 25 kilometres at the Gap the next day in preparation for a trip to Alaska in August.

He will spend time learning from endurance race champion Geoff Roes at his Alaska Mountain Ultra-Running Camp and then facing the challenge of a 150 kilometre run.

He will return to Australia for a 100 kilometres Great Ocean jaunt from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles at Princetown in October.

"The key is learning to listen to your body and knowing when to push on or ease off," he explained.

In the Junior Division Ashleigh Wilson broke through for her maiden win from a determined Rhys Bubb and Atalia Chaplin.

Jordan Nitschke scored the narrowest of wins from Jonte Bubb and Jacob Casey in a keenly contested Sub-Junior race.

The club returns to the Stawell Ironbarks tomorrow for the Chris Blake Handicap.


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