Jess Cass could hardly have picked a better time to celebrate her first win from twelve starts this season with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club, just two days after her 35 birthday and with wedding preparations well underway.
In the wake of a brace of race cancellations, due to COVID-19, her win rounded off a perfect week for Cass who enjoyed her fill of "running, cake, and wine" once the lockdown was lifted.
Due to marry in October to Luke Maffescioni, her partner for the past four years, Cass ran fastest of the eleven females who contested the eight kilometre Stawell Toyota Handicap on a sunny Saturday.
Surging to the lead from greybeards Gary Saunders and Terry Jenkins with an uphill 1.5 kilometres to run, Cass held on grimly to defy the fast-closing Drew Christian who was just twelve seconds in arrears, with Cass' training mate, Michelle Dunn, a brave third.
Cass' sixth win since first joining the club in 2016 compensated for the race she thought she had won on July 12, but lost in extraordinary circumstances, before the lockdown.
She was first across the line in the 6.5 kilometre Advance Bricks and Pavers Handicap, but Jakob Davis was declared the winner having started early, due to football commitments, and running overall fastest time in a solo effort.
Cass, a genuine running enthusiast who injects speed and hill sessions into her training routine every week, had thought about a start in the Melbourne Marathon in October, but settled her priorities when the wedding date was locked in.
"My goal now is to run every race on the club calendar this season because that's something I've never done before," she said.
In the 1 kilometre Sub-Juniors race Kade Santuccione was locked in a ding-dong battle with Mitchell Cass, which helped forge a win over Jerome Baker and Grace Monaghan who finally separated them on handicap.
The club remains in Stawell for the 10 kilometre Run for Ray Scott at Rifle Range Road on Saturday.
Fun runners are welcome.
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