Efforts rewarded

THOSE mundane training routines such as run-throughs, stretches and more rewarded for the hundreds of athletes at the weekend’s Flack Advisory-backed Victoria Country track and field championships in Bendigo.

These titles were not just about the pursuit of gold, silver and bronze.

Achieving a personal best, no matter where they finished on the track or in a field discipline was the goal for many athletes.

From the days when they started Little Athletics or in later years, these athletes have followed the motto of do your best.

It’s a mantra that was followed across the Victoria Country championships and at weekend meets in centres across the country.

The three-day country titles in Bendigowere a chance to pursue personal glory, but also to represent a club, no matter how big or small.

Athletics Bendigo showed its a forced to be reckoned with as Bendigo Harriers won the race for the Margaret Saunders Cup as No.1 team ahead of South Bendigo and Eaglehawk.

Bendigo University’s team of four all walked away from the event as medallists, in some cases with several.

A highlight for University was bronze in the 40-plus men’s 4 x 400m relay.

For the Harriers it was the first overall team award in many years.

It may be the start of a successful reign.

Fielding such a big and multi-talented team always meant Bendigo Harriers would be at or near the top of the leaderboard all weekend.

South Bendigo was the No.1 team from 1999 until 2007.

A year later and Eaglehawk celebrated the first of five consecutive championships as No.1 team.

Chilwell’s pursuit of a Cup hat-trick was thwarted by Bendigo Harriers.

Hosting these titles for the fifth time since 2000 again showcased the excellent facilities at the Latrobe University Bendigo athletics complex in Flora Hill.

Athletics Bendigo’s board and club leaders are to be congratulated on their work leading up to and throughout the championships.

The teamwork of the Athletics Victoria officials and club volunteers was outstanding.

At any athletics meet there are so many tasks to be done.

The team in photo-finish, those collating fields and results, and those out on the track helping put out blocks, carryhurdles or steeples, pick up javelin, discus, hammer or shot put, or chip in on canteen duty went about their roles with a minimum of fuss.

Bendigo Harriers president Geoff Jordan summed it up perfectly when he spoke about club members being prepared to “chip in and have a go”.

Although it’s fierce competition in every event, the camaraderie is what makes events such as the Victoria Country championships, which celebrated their 70th year just as important as the pursuit of being your best.

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