ROD Draper has taken out the 2011 Orange Colour City Running Festival half-marathon over fellow Orange runner Tom Gleeson.
The pair battled it out for the lead over the opening stages of the 21 kilometre race, with Draper taking the early ascendancy around the Gosling Creek area.
And once in the lead there was no catching the 36-year-old.
Draper stormed home to complete the half marathon win in a time of one hour, 16 minutes and 17 seconds.
Jane Faddell, from Mudgee, finished top of the tree in the women’s half-marathon, finished just six minutes after Draper with a time of 1:23.17.
“I felt good. I worked out a rhythm within the first 10 kilometres and just went from there,” Draper said.
“I felt strong on the hills and felt comfortable throughout, it was a reasonable time, too, which is always good.”
Draper said gaining the lead early from Gleeson and eventual third place finisher Gary Rake was the plan.
“Being able to lead from the front helped. It’s a lot easier than having to chase the whole time,” he said.
“The first five k’s [Gleeson] was right behind me. The lead bike kept telling me how far I was in front, though, so I had a fair indication of where Tom was.”
The win is Draper’s first Orange running festival half marathon crown. A win he was made to work for towards the end of the Bloomfield Hospital circuit.
“It’s nice to be able to win here at home. There were a couple of really good runners out there,” he said.
“I hit a flat spot around the 19 kilometre mark out near the field at Jack Brabham but I knew I didn’t have too far to go so I just pushed through it.”
Draper praised the festival’s organisers.
“By the looks of things here this year, it’s all been done quite professionally. It reminds me a lot of the Canberra marathon,” he said.
Which can only mean it’s going to be tough for Draper to defend his crown in 2012.
“It is hard to say whether I’ll be able to go back-to-back. You never know who is going to be here next year,” he said.
In the women’s half-marathon Faddell trumped both Johanna Parsons (second, 1:26.24) and Leanne Rudloff (third, 1:32.08) for the major prize.
In the 10km run Mitchell Williamson put in a superb display to post a winning time of 33.40 to beat Brendan Davis (35.20) and Martin Timms (35.40).
Olympic marathon runner and former Orange student Kate Smyth took out the women’s 10km run in 38.56.
Christine Wolfson was second in 39.20 while Dana Perrignon-Roth was third in 39.55.
n Half marathon and 10km times, as well as more photos, will be published in the Central Western Daily this week.