Wade runs away with a win
FROM the moment Wade O'Malley positioned himself in the centre of the starting line for yesterday's historic Sawtell Fun Run it was obvious the teenage distance runner meant business.
When the starter fired his gun, O'Malley took off like a rocket and remained unchallenged until crossing the tape, 5.5 kilometres and 18 minutes 15 seconds later.
It improved on his third placing in 2008 behind twelve-time winner, Geoffrey Bruce, who this time around finished midfield.
“This is the best preparation for any race I've entered,” O'Malley said while warming up prior to the start.
“I went down to the Jetty carnival for New Year's Eve but as soon as the fireworks ended, headed straight to bed for a good night's sleep.”
While he always planned to get to the front and make the others chase, O'Malley was surprised to find a small group at his shoulder forcing the pace, even before leaving the town centre.
“Couldn't do anything about it so I forgot about them and concentrated on what I was doing,” he said.
“Going up the big hill I was feeling cruisey after the chasers started falling back.
“By the time we got to the Bowling Club it still felt good ... that's where it hurts most ... but rather than ease up, I decided to leg it.”
O'Malley finished a full 30 seconds in front of runner-up Joel Harrigan, with dual race-winner Matthew Bourke a further one second back in third berth.
“After watching Wade tear away last year, we all sort of knew what his intentions were and the question was if he could keep going,” Bourke said.
“My plan was to sit back before making a late burst but you get out there and get motivated and you just have to run.”
While winning at Sawtell is a long way from his Olympic goal, the 16-year-old winner has achieved something long desired at his third attempt on the race.
“Before the start I wished Mr Bruce 'good luck' and now I've won the race I know how he was feeling,” Wade added.
“Next year, I'll come back stronger but I guess that means the next group coming up will be out to beat me.”
And so the tradition of the 89th Sawtell Fun Run continues.