By Jamie Strudley

Yarra Ranges Athletics competed at Round 7 of the Athletics Victoria XCR17 season last Saturday.
Road races around Lake Wendouree in Ballarat were made even harder by gale force winds.
The course, made famous by Steve Moneghetti, was flat and fast except for the bits with head or cross winds – they were no fun!
Some outstanding runs from the club’s underage athletes over 6km set the scene for the 15km race for our open athletes.
Leading the way over 6km was Harry Norman, followed closely by James Laven.
Georgia Laven continued her find form to lead in fellow YRA athletes in the girls race.
The Open athletes had to complete two-and-a bit laps of the windy course.
First home was James Anderson showing the rewards for consistent training, narrowly edging past club legend Michael Clarke.
Judy May showed the wind was no obstacle in her last hit-out before heading to Europe for the mountain racing season with an impressive performance to lead the open women home ahead of Amanda Laven and a surprised Sue McCall.
A big thank you and shout out to junior athletes, Zoe Clarke and Lily Clarke, for helping out on water stations without being asked.
Next up for the senior team is the relays in Anglesea on 12 August.
Under 14 Women 6km Maddie Laven 3rd 22.51, Indigo Linde 9th 24.36, Mia Strudley 15th 26.56; Under 16 Women 6km Georgia Laven 3rd 21.30; Under 18 Women 6km Grace Muller 12th 25.06; Under 20 Women 6km Amy Veenendaal 11th 26.50; Open Women 15km Judith May 46th 1.04.29, Amanda Laven 84th 1.09.39, Sue McCall 110th 1.16.37, Sarah Love 117th 1.19.38, Erika Bedyn 126th 1.22.00, Katie Clarke 132nd 1.28.40; Under 14 Men 6km Zachariah Clarke 9th 23.32, Angus Norman 12th 24.09; Under 16 Men 6km Camden Hewitson 23rd 23.49, Liam Russell 25th 24.11, Jayden Clarke 27th 26.56; Under 18 Men 6km Harry Norman 5th 19.53, James Laven 10th 20.37; Open Men 15km James Anderson 122nd 57.30, Michael Clarke 135th 58.09, Stephen Blair 182nd 1.01.01, Bryan Ackerly 193rd 1.01.35, Graham Coutts 206th 1.02.32, Jamie Strudley 214th 1.03.21, Martin Steer 247th 1.07.19, David Laven 267th 1.09.15, Brent Linde 269th 1.09.29, Craig Hewitson 273rd 1.09.37, David Gorman 329th 1.22.15
A new venue and a howling gale greeted the Yarra Ranges Athletes for the Saturday morning cross country, followed by a well-earned barbecue.
The new venue was Elizabeth Bridge Reserve in Kilsyth, a picturesque park with some slight hills to navigate.
The wind really made the going tough but did not dampen the spirits of the athletes who all enjoyed a welcome change of venue.
With the less demanding course, many fantastic times were achieved.
Small fields meant a lot of fun and working together to navigate the new venue.
The morning was capped off with a yummy barbecue of sausages and bacon and eggs.
Next week the club journeys to Cockatoo for the annual Hills Challenge and will be working hard to bring home the perpetual trophy for the fifth year in a row – fingers crossed.
A special thank you to all that helped make the day a fantastic success.

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