CENTRAL Victorian athlete Glenn McMillan has continued his rich vein of form during the 2021-22 Victorian Athletic League (VAL) season by notching his third win.
Echuca-based McMillan, who represents Bendigo Bats during the Victorian cross country season, added win number three by surging to a convincing victory in the 3200m at last Saturday's Ballarat Gift meeting.
The 29-year-old won in a time of 9:12.237, with a touch over 10 seconds between McMillan and second placegetter Michael Preece, from Bendigo.
The pair have been keen rivals throughout the season, winning five races between them and often finishing not far from each other.
McMillan, whose two other wins have been over 1600m, said he was surprised to prevail over the longer distance.
"I thought Preecey would kill it, he got past me at roughly 1500m into it, so with still about 1700m to go," he said.
"He made up 55m in the handicap and did that in basically the first three laps.
"I tried to hang on to him for about a lap, but couldn't. so deep down I'd resigned myself to Preecey winning.
"The goal was to stay within five or 10-metres of him as he was ploughing into the field.
"With about 800m to go I decided to give it one last surge and was able to catch up with him with about 500m to go and was able to put some space in between him and I over the last lap.
"It was a bit of a surprise to realise I was clear in front."
Originally from Maryborough, McMillan has contested only one previous 3200m event this season, at the Beachside Gift (formerly Parkdale Gift) meeting on February 5.
A class field on that occasion was headed by Tokyo Olympians Jack Rayner and Stewart McSweyn, who finished second and third respectively.
McMillan placed 'a pleasing' eighth.
With his win at Ballarat, McMillan - a teacher at at St Mary's Primary School in Echuca - added to his wins this season over 1600m at the Waverley Gift and Wangaratta Gift.
It is only the second time he has won three times in a VAL season, scoring a hat-trick in 2019-20 when his triumphs included a stirring hometown win at Maryborough and Meadowglen.
"I wasn't really expecting to get three this season, I was rapt to just get the two," McMillan said.
"But getting my first win over two miles, I was absolutely rapt, especially after running against some of the big guns the week before.
"I was able to hang on until about a kilometre to go before I died on my run, so it was good that I was able to kick on in this one."
McMillan will now aim for a top-20 finish at this weekend's state championships at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne.
"From there I'll be into a solid training block heading into Stawell," he said.
McMillan will again represent Bendigo Bats during the 2022 cross country season, with the team hopeful of forcing their way into division one.
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