IT’S not quite the race that stops the nation, but the five-kilometre dash at this year’s Orange Colour City Running Festival certainly got the attention of the bumper crowd on hand.
Tipped to break the 15-minute barrier, a massive contingent, largely made up of school kids and business teams, blitzed it out of the Bloomfield hospital campus blocks, setting a scintillating pace from the outset of the race
But at the end of it, Dave Matthews was the quickest on course.
It wasn’t as fast as the early predictions, but Matthews’ time of 15 minutes and 49 seconds was quick enough to edge out Orange favourite Mitch Williamson, who finished close behind in second.
Matthews, the partner of festival ambassador Lisa Corrigan, was thrilled with the win, one he was made to work for by Williamson.
“I found it a lot more challenging than I thought,” Matthews said.
“Because it’s an Athletics Australia accredited race, you know the distance is going to be spot on. You can’t really cut corners to make the time up.
“Mitch took it out hard and I caught him at the half-way mark and then we were shoulder to shoulder, really battling. It makes for hard racing when you’ve got a guy of Mitch’s calibre next you.”
Yesterday’s dash was Matthews’ first competitive race in three months.
The Bondi-based athlete said after completing a large training block in the same time, it was satisfying to see the hard work paying off.
“I had no expectations ... happy with under 16 (minutes),” he said, catching his breath.
“I thought I’d come out with (Corrigan) and just show support for such a great race.
“I love the Orange community and everyone here.”