Gemechu Woyecha on his way to victory yesterday. Photo: David Appleby
After an 18-month battle against an Achilles injury, Gemechu Woyecha has hit the ground running, backing up his third in the Weston Creek half-marathon with victory in the 43rd Rex Foulkes Memorial half-marathon yesterday.
The 33-year-old Ethiopian beat 379 runners home in a time of one hour 10 minutes and 40 seconds, about two minutes ahead of the second-placed Nick Walshe.
Bruce resident Kim Wilmshurst took out the women's event in a personal best time of one hour, 23 minutes and 36 seconds.
Woyecha, who represented Qatar at the Sydney Olympic Games, has lived in Canberra for 10 years and is working for Australian marathon legend Robert de Castella.
''Fingers crossed I will be able to compete more this year. After I crossed the line, in my Achilles I didn't feel anything which is really good. I'm so glad about it,'' Woyecha said.
Wilmshurst came into the race in good form, winning the Weston Creek half-marathon and finishing second in the Mother's Day 10km last weekend.
Wilmshurst rates yesterday's win as her best, after beating training partner and former winner Andrea Ilakovac by 17 seconds. It was a surprise win for the 34-year-old, who took the lead at the 16km mark from Ilakovac.
''I train with Dick Telford, a group here in Canberra, and there was another girl [Ilakovac] who would usually beat me but didn't have such a good race. So I wasn't expecting to win at all knowing she was doing it,'' Wilmshurst said.
AT A GLANCE
Men: 1. Gemechu Woyecha 1:10.40; 2. Nick Walshe 1:12.41; 3. Daudi Somi 1:15.25. Women: 1. Kim Wilmshurst 1:23.36; 2. Andrea Ilakovac 1:23.53; 3. Melissa Carters 1:26.26.