David Hunter’s late decision to run the Melbourne Marathon in October was a key factor in him notching his second cross country win of the season with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club last Saturday.
Having won the eight kilometre Lindsay Kent Memorial in May, Hunter drifted in and out of form and motivation before he decided last month to have a crack at his second marathon.
“I’ve had to step up my training and managed to do a 16 kilometre run during the week and that’s helped to improve my fitness,” the 40-year-old said.
“I ran a bit of a shocker last week, but that was the first 10km race I’ve had since last year and I just wasn’t switched on.”
Relishing the downhill run at the start of the Stawell Sportspower Handicap, Hunter had overtaken the first of the front-markers inside the first kilometre and was encouraged to press on.
Resolute backmarker Matilda Iglesias chased hard but failed to catch Hunter with last year’s Sportspower winner, Vicki Tyler, clinging to third.
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“I’m feeling a lot better now than I did at this time last year,” Hunter said.
“Last year, at the end of a race like this, I’d hardly be able to walk.”
In the off season, Hunter underwent an operation to fuse an arthritic big toe which required weeks of “non-weight-bearing rest,” the support of crutches and a “moon boot” post-op.
“I thought I’d need another operation on the other foot as well, but so far it’s holding up. I’m feeling no pain and I’d like to improve on the 4.20 hours I ran in my first marathon a couple of years ago.”
It was a satisfying morning for the Hunter family with daughters Chloe and Olivia fighting out the finish of the one kilometre Sub-Juniors race.
The club returns to the Ironbarks this Saturday for the club’s longest race, the 16 kilometre “One More Step” for Ray Rickard Handicap on a testing figure-eight course. Fun runners are welcome.