Woulo recently joined Glenhuntly and has run the last three AV Winter events. He
was part of our winning Div 1 team in the 16 km CC and was the second Hunter home in the 12 km CC.
We hope there are many great runs ahead for Woulo and we're very happy he is running with us.
You love to run?
Yes, very much. I first started running in 1999 when I was 19. I was in Year 12. Life was hard. There were seven children in our family and running was an opportunity for me to make money and help my familys financial situation. If you can run well you can have a better life.
I ran for my school, then qualified to run for my region, then made the state team.
Before I was a runner I played volleyball and soccer, and practised Tae Kwon Do.
What success did you enjoy as runner in Sudan?
I represented Sudan in the Arab Cross Country Championships in Saudi Arabia (1999) and Lebanon (2000).
In 2000 I got a scholarship with the International Olympic Committee. They provide scholarships to help athletes from countries that are not strong in athletics.
I trained in Ethiopia for 45 days with the Sudanese National team. We didnt train with the Ethiopians but I did see Haile Gebrselassie training.
I got injured in Ethiopia. At this time I was running around 15 mins for 5 km but would have qualified for the Sydney Olympic Games as each country is able to send a certain number of athletes regardless of qualifying times.
I ran in the World Cross Country Championships in Dublin in 2002. I also competed in the Junior World Track and Field Championships in Jamaica in the 3000 m Steeplechase.
When were you at your peak?
I ran 8.50 for the Steeplechase in Egypt in an Arabic competition and 14.15 for 5000 m in the UK. This was in 2002. I was running with the Sudanese National Team. The UK Athletics Association invited us to race and train in the UK for 6 months.
You have been to many countries. Where else have you been other than Egypt and Ethiopia?
In 2002/2003 for 7 months in Eldoret, Kenya. I was the at the Kip Keino Training Centre. I trained there hoping to qualify for the Athens Olympics. Unfortunately, I got injured in Kenya and couldnt train for 4 months and eventually went back to Sudan.
I have also been to Italy, Turkey and many Arabic countries. I was a regular traveler to Qatar in 2002 for one year . I got a contract with Al Rayyan Athletic Club. I ran the track season with them. It was a short season because it is very hot in summer. I was paid US$400 per month. I got free accommodation and my airfares paid each time I raced there. I was not allowed to live there as Sudan was worried that I may apply for citizenship.
Was US$400 per month good money?
Yes, of course. It changed my life. I was able to buy a house (in Sudan). I helped my family with the money I got from running. My mum and dad and my sisters still live in that house.
My running success got me a position in the army. I represented Sudan in the World Military Cross Country and Track and Field too. The army paid me money.
When I went to Kenya, I was very motivated to run faster to make money to ensure my familys future would be secure. The injury came as a blow to me. I had no skills and no work. Running was my work. I was no longer in the army.
You went from Sudan to Egypt?
Yes, I went to Egypt and was there for three years and applied to come to Australia. I was lucky enough to be accepted and came here as a refugee. I met my wife in Egypt. That was the best thing about my time in Egypt.
Are you enjoying life in Australia?
Yes. Australia gave me a big chance and I want to give something back. I would love to represent Australia one day. That is my big hope.
I have been here for one year now but am yet to find permanent full time employment. In the past it has been easier for refugees to find work but now many jobs have moved offshore. I am still looking for a job, and would appreciate any opportunity that came my way.
I have a daughter too. She is 9 months old and I am enjoying fatherhood.
Have you done much running since you arrived in Australia?
I have done a little. Last track season I ran 15.36 for 5000 m and 8.45 for 3000 m.
I ran with St Kevins Aths Club. They were good to me and I would like to thank Peter Kehoe for his help. But St Kevins train and race too far away from where I live and it was hard for me to train in a group.
I also ran with the Victorian Athletic League. At Stawell I was the back marker in the 2 mile and I finished 5th.
I was training with Wally Meecham when I was running with the VAL. Wally was good to me and I would like to thank him for helping me. He and Frank Martinez (former Hunter, father of Justin, and coached by Wally) advised me to join Glenhuntly. It would give me more competition and they told me it was a great club.
I joined Glenhuntly and am enjoying it very much. Glenhuntly is a top club in Melbourne and I want to run well because everyone has been very kind to me.
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