The Wednesday Night Running Club Handicap Championship was another eventful series, and for the seventh time since its introduction there is a new champion.
Steve Baker received the Jim Kelly Trophy at an end-of-season awards ceremony at Sunset House on Wednesday night.
The handicap series of three 3-mile races was introduced by WNRC founder Tony “Duffer” Watts in 2009 to allow slower runners the chance to be champs through a staggered start system.
The slowest runners start earlier than the fastest ones, and between Watts and Justine Plenkiewicz they adjust the handicap intervals in the second and third races.
Each runner is judged on his or her best times in two of the three runs. They do not have to run all three.
In race 1, Matt “Sticks” Volkwyn was the last person to start but he caught everybody in the field and was first to finish.
He was re-handicapped for race 2 but could not repeat the feat. However, he still set a new record of 17 minutes 33 seconds for the course, which started on Lawrence Boulevard opposite the Harquail Theatre.
Volkwyn was sick for the last race, but previous fastest competitor Neal Ainscow pitched up and also recorded 17:33, equaling the new record. Although Ainscow had no chance of winning the championship because he had not run in a previous race, he wanted to beat Volkwyn’s record.
The final places were very close, with race 2 winner Matt O’Keeffe tied for third overall with Jalene Cruz.
WNRC newcomer Jacqueline Thomson was second overall. Baker keeps the Jim Kelly Trophy for the next year. He received the prize from last year’s champ, Jo Bond, who ran the first two races. Baker ran 25 minutes, 50 seconds, in race 1 and improved to 24:15.
Previous champs in attendance were Brad Marquardt, Pam Abbott and Marco Gaspar.