DUER Yoa took his return to distance running to a new level by securing the Victorian half marathon title on Sunday.
The Sudanese-born Ballarat athlete used his superior sprinting power to finish the individual program of the Athletics Victoria XCR’12 Series on a high at Burnley.
He left Kane Wille (Knox) and Wondwosen Geleta (South Melbourne) in his wake over the last 200 metres, taking the championship in one hour, six minutes, 24 seconds in his half marathon debut.
Yoa, who runs with Eureka and represents the Ballarat Regional Athletic Centre in the XCR’12, is in his first season back competing after dropping out of the sport for a few years.
He has only competed in a handful of events in the state series.
Yoa, Wille and Geleta had the title chase to themselves a long way from home.
Battling a sore neck, Yoa took a sit on his two rivals through the 10km mark.
“It came down to that last kick,” Yoa said.
“I just happened to have the fresh legs, having not run the 12km last week (at the Australian Cross Country Championships),” he said.
A two-time world cross country representative, Yoa made history as a junior in 2008 as the first Sudanese-born athlete to ever represent Australia.
The 22-year-old said he was thrilled to be back and racing well.
“I’m very happy with where I am now.
“I’ve had personal issues in the past and I’m over that now, so hopefully I can get back to where I was, running fast times again.”
The XCR’12 Series wraps up with the Tan Relays at Kings’ Domain, Melbourne, on Saturday, September 15.
BALLARAT TOP 10s
OPEN: Duer Yoa (1:06.24.8) 1
39/UNDER: Duer Yoa (1:06.24.8) 1
45-49: Alistair Ham (1:22.48.6) 9
55-59: Graeme Cartledge (1:24.01.8) 3
39 YEARS/UNDER: Angela Williams (1:22.54.9) 10
40-44: Anne Martin (1:31.44.6) 7
50-54: Sarah Davis (2:03.05.9) 9
UNDER-14: Sam Williams (10:19.3) 2, Nicholas Fidler (11:13.0) 7
UNDER-20: Rhiannon White (10:31.8) 2
UNDER-18: Courtney Scott (10:10.0) 2