TOP-CLASS athletes Andy Buchanan and Ellie Pashley triumphed in the elite men's and women's races run in the Bendigo Harriers inaugural 5km Frenzy on Friday night at the Flora Hill track.
It was another home-track win for Bendigo University's Buchanan, who raced in the colours of sponsor Features Socks and clocked a track record 14:21.
Pashley used Bendigo's event as part of her build-up to the Tokyo Olympics and ran strongly in the blustery conditions to achieve a time of 16:08.
For several laps, Pashley and the rest of the field raced under the arc of a rainbow.
The elite men's race capped a great night of athletics action in which Bendigo Harriers teamed with City of Greater Bendigo as part of the Summer in the Parks calendar.
Bendigo Harriers' clubmates Jamie Cook and Nathan Stoate upped the pace significantly when they attacked on the third of 12 1/2 laps.
The rest of the field responded and it was Buchanan who hit the lead at seven to go and was never headed.
Approaching the halfway mark Echuca's Archie Reid was trying to stay in contact, but Buchanan quickly gained a 20 metre lead.
Buchanan powered to victory ahead of Spence from Ballarat Harriers, 14:45.06; and Glenhuntly's Ben Kelly, 14:45.26.
The top nine all beat the Bendigo track record of 15-minutes.
"I had to work hard to get away," Buchanan said.
"The aim was to run a strong 3km, but after the first couple of laps I knew I had to do something.
"I was never too worried about the time, it was more about a solid hit-out leading up to the Zatopek 10km on January 26."
Buchanan praised the Harriers and COGB for the initative.
"It was great to have such a quality field and cool atmosphere.
"This was so different to any track race I have done, especially running through the marquee on the home straight. The cheering gave me a lift each time."
Among those trackside were Buchanan's parents, Alan and Jenny, and many others who had supported and watched his development as an athlete.
Plenty of training on the windswept south coast meant Ellie Pashley was not daunted by the headwind on the home straight at Bendigo's track.
"It's great to be back racing," Pashley said after an impressive victory.
"The conditions were tough.
"This was a good hit-out leading up to Zatopek and other big events," the Deakin AC champion said of the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympics in which she could race the 10,000m on the track, or the marathon.
"The aim was sub 16 minutes in tonight's race. It was not to be, but I was really happy with the run," said the Julian Spence coached-athlete.
Winners of the mixed 5000m heats were Andrew Kraulis, Shepparton's Glenn McMillan, and Jack O'Mahoney from the Run 2 PB squad of which Andy Buchanan is a coach.
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