MITCH Williamson fulfilled his dream of a Bathurst Edgell Jog victory on Sunday after a mistake from Canberra duo Charlie Doherty and James Baker led their disqualification.
(min cost $8)
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It was a contentious return for the jog after its three year absence as Doherty and Baker crossed the finish line with stunning times of 21 minutes and 48 seconds and 21:55 respectively over the 7.5 kilometre course.
However, there was concern soon etched on the faces of the first two runners across the line as they waited for the rest of the field to make their way home.
Orange runner Williamson soon finished in a time of 25:36 to see off the challenge from Bathurst pair Miller Rivett (25:59) and Max Martinez (26:31).
Organisers took their time to make a definitive call on what they would do after learning that Doherty and Baker had taken a left turn at Bentinck Street instead of Seymour Street.
That saved the pair roughly 450 metres of running, though they would have still comfortably beaten the rest of the field had they run the complete course.
The jog committee used that reasoning to initially award Doherty the victory, based on an adjusted time, but that decision was soon overturned to give Williamson his first taste of Edgell Jog glory.
Williamson said it was great to produce the time that he did after feeling uncertain about his condition at the start of the race.
"Yesterday I got a little bit of a cough, so I made sure I stayed well within myself. I ran a pretty solid time while running within myself, which I'm pretty happy with," he said.
"I let the leaders go. They were in a different class. After a few blocks I knew that I would be racing for third, honestly. They were always going to win."
Because Doherty and Baker were a cut above, Williamson was left to run his own race for much of the course.
"I was by myself most of the way. They were too far ahead. Because I knew I wasn't feeling too good I was getting a stitch and looking back a little bit," Williamson said.
"But my legs never got tired, so I was just trying to protect my lungs. I tend to get coughs a lot but I was fine.
"It was just great to be back on this course after three years. I love this track and love running through town."
Had the Canberra runners not been disqualified their duel would have gone done as one of the best contests the jog has ever seen.
The pair ran right near each other for virtually the entire distance and it was up the final stretch on Russell Street where he gained a small gap.
Doherty, prior to a decision being reached on the race outcome, said it was nice to get one up on his running mate after a string of great contests over the years.
"We ended up coming down Bentinck Street. I lost sight of the police car at one point and must have taken the left turn a little earlier this usual," he said.
"We race each other all the time and this is actually my first time beating him. I'd love for it to be official otherwise it'd be like 5-0 his way. Jimmy's a great runner and it's been great having a few battles with him over the years.
"I made him lead it into the headwind the whole time so he's probably hating me for that. I was just sitting right on his ankles for the first two kilometres.
"As soon as we got to the top of the uphill I thought 'I've got to go here, I can hear him breathing' but as soon as I hit the front the wind hit me. It wasn't until the downhill where I got a few metres on him."
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