It feels like a long time since a 17-year-old Holly Dobbyn lifted the trophy as the women’s Stawell Gift winner in 2014.
Since that moment the Ballarat runner has endured some difficult and frustrating times with injury, but Saturday’s performance at Rye made all the hard work worth it.
Dobbyn took out the women’s 120m Diamond, off the backmarker of 3.75m, with a time of 14.08 seconds – her first victory since Stawell.
Dobbyn said she did not expect to come home with the victory but it gave her the reassurance that she was still more than capable on the track, despite a wretched run with injury.
“It was a bit of a surprise, obviously I wanted to run well, but it was nice to come away with the win,” Dobbyn said.
“Rye’s always a good Gift to go to...I wanted to make the final, but coming away with the win was fantastic.”
After the Stawell success, Dobbyn suffered stress fractures in her foot as well as some soft tissue injuries. It has only been in the last 18 months that she has got her body right and started competing regularly.
It’s encouraging to know I haven’t lost anything from the injuries I’ve had.Holly Dobbyn
“I haven’t had a great run.
“Every season it would get to the peak and I would do an injury...now I’ve got some form back.
“I’ve definitely grown and got more and more strength over the last two years of training, which has seen the improvement from when I won Stawell.
“So it’s encouraging to know I haven’t lost anything from the injuries I’ve had.”
Dobbyn will now prepare for the Country Championships before competing in her hometown event at the Ballarat Gift on February 3-4.
Meanwhile, Ballarat runners also impressed in the men’s 120 Gift as Sam Baird finished, second running off 6.5m.