It was the closest finish to the Maitland Mile seen in the event’s three-year history.
Less than a second separated the top pair and merely a lunge on the finish line decided the victor following a desperate dash down High Street.
Side by side they entered the Heritage Mall but it was Sachio Shimose who triumphed over Angus Baldwin in what was a thrilling conclusion to the feature race.
“It was an exhilarating finish,” event organiser Paul Humphreys said. “It was literally a lunge on the line that won it, so I was glad we had a few people there to judge as well.
“This was the closest finish we have had by far and it really breathed some life back into the mall.”
To check out more photos from the big day, click on the images above.
Shimose, a Japanese native based in Muswellbrook, stopped the clock at four minutes 27.20 seconds (4:27.20) while Baldwin, from Tumbi Umbi, was narrowly behind in a time of four minutes 27.76 seconds (4:27.76).
This was not the first bit of success for 27-year-old Shimose, who won the 2008 National University Track and Field Championships in Japan for 3000m steeplechase.
In the past 12 months alone Shimose has won the 2011 Scone and Upper Hunter Horse Festival Fun Run (8km) and the 3000m steeplechase at the 2011 Armidale Athletics Club gala day.
Shimose joins inaugural winner and Commonwealth Games representative Scott Westcott (2010) and Olympian and Olympic Games medallist Youcef Abdi (2011) on the Maitland Mile honour list.
Rounding out the podium with Shimose and Baldwin was Lisarow’s Cale Bowd (4:30.06) while Dave Robertson crossed the line fourth.
Metford’s Kim Fletcher was the first woman home in a time of five minutes and 27.49s (5:27.49).
Humphreys said he was extremely pleased with the participation across the Maitland Mile and three fun run distances (4, 8 and 12 kilometres).
“We were up near 1000 competitors on the day, which was well up on the 600 from last year,” he said.