Colin Barnett was crowned Stawell Amateur Athletic Club’s Ian Notting Open Male champion for the sixth time at the club’s presentation night at the weekend.
Barnett set the difficult goal of competing in all 21 races at the beginning of the cross country season in April, a long shot given his bad luck with injury.
The fifty-four-year-old Horsham veteran had endured a long and frustrating sequence of calf strains and niggles and had not completed a full season since 2005.
Barnett defied the odds with a stellar season free from injury, culminating in a haul of four awards at the club’s presentation night last Friday.
The veteran runner took home the Keith Haymes Aggregate, the Veteran Male and Ray Rickard Teams trophy to go with his first Ian Notting Open Male champion award since 2011.
Barnett paid tribute to 16-year-old sensation Tom Walker, who had to give massive starts to his slower club mates in the handicap races all year but still finished second six times during the season and won just once.
“It’s pretty clear that Tom is blessed with talent and is the fastest and best we have,” Barnett said. “I had the advantage of running more races than he did.”
The club’s most improved performer, Jess Cass, easily won the Open Female title, with 2016 winner Matilda Iglesias the runner-up.
Seven-year-old Olivia Hunter repeated her 2016 success in the Robert Freeland sub-junior competition, edging out her five-year-old sister, Chloe.
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