Former Moyston-Willaura footballer Mick Davis may not have had the skills of Dale Hurley or his speed but has followed in the Great Westerner’s footsteps by swapping his footy boots for running shoes and breaking through for his first win as a bona fide athlete at Rhymney last Sunday.
Hurley was not a starter at Rhymney but the two-time club champion has inspired Davis to realise that there is a sporting life after football.
After a string of near misses in 2013, Davis’s maiden success came at only his twelfth run with the Stawell and Ararat Cross Country Club and he did it in emphatic style. His margin of two ticks under two minutes over hardy perennial Jack Trounson may have been the widest in a five kilometre club event this century! Milliseconds back in third place was Ian McCready who completed an all-veterans trifecta.
While elated with his first-ever win in any kind of foot race, the 54-year-old Davis is confident he can do even better. He was always in a commanding position but a bout of dry retching, brought on by effort as he reached the top of the hill before the downward slide to the Pentlands Hill Road, cost him considerable ground.
“I had to slow down for at least 200 or 300 metres until I recovered so I know my times can improve,” he said. “I’m fortunate that I never had a serious injury as a footballer so I’m able to run without having any issues.”
Davis played 150 games and was President of the Moyston-Willaura Football – Netball Club for four years.
After ending his days as a footballer, Davis gave valuable service to the club, umpiring senior games and acting as a runner but could not give full focus to middle-distance club running until recently.
“These days I’m training three or four times a week over six to eight kilometres whereas before I would only commit to one or two runs a week.”
Davis began serious running at the persistent urgings of SAAAC President Neil Wilde.
“Neil had been at me for years to take up the running and I was always interested in doing that when the time was right,” he said. “At my age you either wear out or you rust so I’ve taken the first option because I think it’s healthier in the long run.”
Fastest time for the race was a scintillating 20.15 minutes recorded by 1999 Club Champion Paul Fenn who, after resettling in Ararat, returned as a member for the first time since the early 2000s.
The club takes charge of the Lindsay Kent Memorial Fun Run on Easter Sunday at Stawell Racecourse but is in Ararat the following Sunday for the five kilometre Ryan Family Handicap at Annies Lane.
Fun runners are welcome.