Amy Yole needed to fight off the “mental demons” that challenged her before forging to an unexpected win in the five kilometre Grampians Insurance Brokers Handicap at Stawell last Saturday.
The thirty-four-year-old registered nurse and mother had not had a run with the Stawell Amateur Athletic Club since 2018, having started a family which stalled her running ambitions in the intervening years.
“I had high expectations, maybe too high, but I didn’t know if I would be able to come back to running after pregnancy and having Kellymay, my third child.”
She was certainly fit enough, after successfully completing the March Charge for cancer research running twenty-five kilometres per week to chalk up 100 kilometres for the month; all that after knee surgery in 2013 forced her to quit grade netball and basketball.
“I’d won just the one race with the club in 2018 but really didn’t give any thought to winning today…I didn’t know what my handicap was and wouldn’t have cared if I had one.”
Connected to her favourite music, looking relaxed and running steadily on an Ironbarks course that seemed to do nothing but climb, Yole gradually reeled in slower runners and won the club’s first cross country outing since 2019 by a clear margin.
Under the handicap conditions, newcomers Drew Christian and Elise Monaghan had to give the winner a start but both will be better for the experience and with a season of twenty-one races ahead the pair can expect to be winning sooner than later.
“To be honest,” Yole said, “I was only out there racing myself and wiped nearly 1.30 minutes off my personal best since having Ellamay.”
A spirited one kilometre Sub-Junior contest for pre-schoolers to pre-teens was narrowly won by Nash Santuccione who had three seconds to spare from siblings Cameron and Claire Christian.
The club gives way to the Lindsay Kent Memorial Fun Run on Easter Sunday but returns the following week for the 5.5 kilometre Hunter Gardens and Landscaping Handicap, starting at 10am from Concongella Hall. Fun runners are welcome.