BENDIGO Region achieved four wins and two runner-up placings at Saturday’s running of Athletics Victoria road relay championships at Sandown Racecourse.
Organisers decided to cut two laps of the 3.1km circuit to one lap for athletes in the open and over-age events.
There were many highlights for Bendigo Region.
The under-18 girls were the fastest of all junior teams on the Sandown track as they finished almost two minutes clear of their nearest rivals.
At the end of the first leg of the relay, Yazmin Hayes was 38 seconds clear of the second placegetters in the under-18 girls contest.
Hayes achieved a brilliant time of 10:48 which was second fastest of all juniors, fastest in under-18s, and in the top 10 times of the day.
Eligible to compete at under-16 level, Tullie Rowe and Taryn Furletti stepped up to the challenge and ran 11:39 and 11:05 respectively.
Bendigo’s 50-plus women’s team of Jill Wilkie, Julie Marr and Anne Buckley put in a superb effort to capture silver as Athletics Waverley won a hard-fought race.
A star-studded division three men’s team continued its winning run in the XCR action.
National cross-country champion Andy Buchanan ran the 3100m in 8:40 and caught all but one rival from the division one teams.
Brady Threlfall scorched the track in 8:58 and talented teenager Archie Reid clocked a time of 9:22 as Bendigo was in the top three on the track.
Matt Buckell, 15, ran well in his XCR debut and the experienced Nigel Preston finished strongly to complete a decisive victory for the division three premiership leaders.
The division six men’s withstood an early challenge from Doncaster to finish four minutes clear of the second-placed Keilor St Bernard’s.
In his comeback from injury, Kye Jenkyn made a flying start in 9:48 as Glenn McMillan, Matt Hooke and Ben Stolz all ran strongly to now put the team within two points of the promotion zone.
Bendigo’s division seven men’s team also capped a great day.
Stephen Van Rees ran a slick 10:10 which was the sixth fastest time of Bendigo athletes.
Matt Heislers, Daniel Plowright and Luke Matthews ensured Bendigo would finish more two minutes in front of Victorian Cross Country League and APS United.
Second placing by the women’s division four team meant it moved within four points of the ladder-leading Mentone.
Melissa Douglas and Amy Holmes marked their first XCR hit-outs of the season as they joined Alice Wilkinson to be not far away from Essendon at the finish.
In her XCR debut, Holmes ran 12:11.
The 40-plus men’s team of David Heislers, Eric Baker and Leigh Browell was 11th in a strong field of 14.
Jackson Eadon, Sebastyn Andrea and Harrison Boyd ran well in the breezy conditions to be 11th of 15 in the under-16 boys relay.