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    Nathan Baker.

Baker back to best in Run For Ray

Two sessions of acupuncture helped propel Nathan Baker to a surprise win in the 10-kilometre Run For Ray Handicap at Stawell on Saturday, his first ever in a race of that distance.

A dedicated trainer and competitor, Baker was crestfallen when a hamstring strain forced him to rest and miss three races with Stawell Amateur Athletic Club.

“You lose a lot of fitness when you have to stop for five weeks,” he said.

“It’s harder to come back when the races get longer because you need to work harder to get ready for those.”

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Keen to do all that he could to accelerate the healing, Baker visited an acupuncturist in Stawell and noticed immediate improvement.

“The tightness in the ‘hammy’ started to free up after the first treatment, which was more than I expected,” he said.

“I was able to run 10 kilometres to prepare for the race and that gave me some confidence.”

Reigning club champion Colin Barnett, also recovering from injury, was first to finish but Baker was right on his tail for all of the race and once handicaps were applied the margin favoured Baker by just under a minute.

Veteran Terry Jenkins, the pre-race favourite and last year’s winner, was third.

The Run For Ray is held in memory of Ray Scott, a former club president who died tragically while training alone in the Ironbarks Forest in 2010. The club returns to the Ironbarks on Saturday for a 10-kilometre handicap.

Fun runners are invited to meet at the North Park clubrooms from 9.30am.

Sandra shocks in AESC Cup

Three weeks after winning her first Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club race since 2016, Sandra Barwick recorded a shock win in the inaugural AESC Cup at Stawell on Sunday. In the richest race of the club season, which offered $500 in prize money, Barwick was undaunted by the cold, wet and muddy conditions, and began with a steely determination to do the very best she could.

“I saw Adrian van Raaphorst in front of me and I kept saying to myself ‘I’m not going to let him beat me!’”

For only the second time in their past eight meets, Barwick ran the better time.

When handicaps were applied, Barwick held a comfortable 38-second margin over Peter Gibson, with the ever-consistent Jack Trounson pipping Ian McCready for third.

The club travels to Moyston on Sunday for the five-kilometre Wilde Family Handicap.

Fun runners are welcome.

– Keith Lofthouse

The entire August 14, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!