It was the stuff of dreams for Ballarat’s Kate Jones.
Jones has long searched for victory in the women’s 120m Ballarat Gift – and on Saturday that quest was delivered upon.
Jones entered the weekend’s event at Wendouree’s CE Brown Reserve in good form but she was well aware she would be up against a strong field.
Running off nine metres, Jones stormed down the straight to cross the line with fellow Ballarat runner Tara Domaschenz.
It was too tight to call from the naked eye as both competitors had a nervous 30 seconds waiting for the footage to be reviewed in order to crown a winner.
As her name sounded over the loud speaker, it was met with joy from her strong contingent of friends and family that came out to watch.
Jones, who was running in her fifth Ballarat Gift final, was overwhelmed by the result as she was swamped by family and media alike.
Jones told The Courier it was a dream come true as she got home by the barest of margins in a time of 14.050 seconds.
“To get it was a dream come true,” an elated Jones said.
“I’ve been running well this season, but not this well.
“I actually thought Tara had got me, so it was nice when they called me.
“When they called my name, I just couldn’t believe it.
“I think I was in a bit of shock.
“I’m normally pretty composed, but I was overwhelmed – absolutely stoked.”
Jones won the Ararat Gift this season and ran quality times during her heats and semi-finals, but to take home the women’s Ballarat Gift sash was something that will undoubtedly take some time to sink in.
The popular winner has been a regular at the Gift as well as having plenty to do with athletics within the region, having coached little athletics and been a strong part of the Mick Benoit stable.
Jones thanked her coach and training partners post-run and said it was always an honour to win any meet, but this one held extra meaning on home soil.
“I’ve always come close.
“I’ve always loved running here.
“In front of my club and my family and my home town – it is really special.”
Jones forecast leading into the Maryborough Gift that starting stronger had been a focus for her and her team during the season.
Clearly that hard work has come to fruition, evidenced by an impressive summer.
While she said her starts were still something she was working on, Jones has plenty of momentum to now take through the rest of the calendar.
Jones said she will continue to work on her form and hold onto this form and confidence as she casts an eye towards Stawell in late-March, early-April.
Making it a Ballarat quinella was the impressive run from Domaschenz and rounding out the podium was Stephanie Jinks.
HOW THEY FINISHED
Kate Jones (9m) 14.050 seconds
Tara Domaschenz (5m) 14.056
Stephanie Jinks (11.5m) 14.066
Laura Downie (8m) 14.114
Ebony Lane (5.75m) 14.210
Sienna Fighera (5.5m) 14.227
Talia Martin (6m) 14.313
Abby Chapman (3.5m) 14.334