Experience has paid off for Busselton runner Ben Freer, who claimed his maiden Elleker half marathon victory in his first crack at the race on Sunday morning. The 48-year-old used his racing smarts to cross the line first in the 25th edition of the race and was among a record 312 competitors that took part in the Albany Athletics Club event. Freer overtook early leader and eventual third place getter Jackson Pitman (1hr. 22min. 18sec.) at the 3km mark and was never headed as he went on to defy his expectations and win in a slick time of 1:21.53. Astrid Roberts produced a superb run to be the first female to cross the line and finish second overall in the half marathon, stopping the clock at 1:22.06. Freer said it felt fantastic to win the 21.1km race. “I surprised myself, as at 48 years old this was my half marathon personal best,” he said. “I have been training differently with less running and more structure and today was the best I have felt. “Being older than most of the other competitors, probably a lot older, I couldn’t wait to be out sprinted in the last few kilometres so I made a big push at 3km mark to try and wear out the chasers. “It did not quite work so I continued pushing hard with a few seconds lead for the whole 21km. “I knew I couldn’t relax as right behind me was Astrid Roberts who was gaining quickly.” Roberts, 46, from Perth said it was a fantastic all-round event. “A friend suggested the event and said it was a fun and friendly event and he was right,” Roberts said. “I was using the race as part of my training program for the Gold Coast marathon in four weeks time. “The course and conditions were very good and favourable for running. “I really liked the two-lap course it was fun running and l liked how the event organisers provided us with yummy soup and sandwiches.” Kate Pritchett was the second female to finish and crossed the line in fourth place overall while Sam Maguire rounded out the top five. Local runner Callum Dowell blitzed the 10km road race field to win in a time of 34:53 while his partner Crystal Bairstow was the female 10km winner in 43:48. Victor Munoz (1:06.02) and Marcela Ruiz (1:13.49) were the 10km walk male and female winners respectively and Caleb Benson claimed the kids 2km dash.