The redoubtable Peter Gibson only partly shook off the “bridesmaid” tag despite breaking through for his first win in two years with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club at Warrak last Sunday.
The 374-start veteran has long been the club’s most consistent performer but to his own frustration and sometimes the handicapper’s he has been a perennial place-getter.
His last 10 starts have yielded four seconds, four thirds and now only his second win from 48 starts in the past three years, which include 32 top four finishes.
He almost came unstuck again in the 6.5 kilometre Watkins Family Handicap when threatened by Sandra Bywaters, a “bolter” who finished more than five minutes behind Gibson the week before but somehow got within five seconds of the winner over a shorter distance this time.
“That was a close one,” 60-year-old Gibson said by way of understatement at the post-race presentation.
A mere 0.17 minutes had separated the first four to finish and it would have been even closer if the fifth to finish had not been a faller with a kilometre to run.
Having previously won the Watkins in 2015, Gibson joins the ranks of two-time winners, now swelling to six without a three-time winner since the race was first run in 1996.
Gibson’s win was timely given that the club’s next race on September 16 after the Father’s Day bye is the eight kilometre Peter Gibson Handicap at Dunneworthy Common (Ararat). Fun runners are welcome.