Abshir Yerow’s bad break two summers ago turned out to be his and OCC’s good fortune. Yerow had graduated from Nottingham High School in June 2016 and planned to play soccer at OCC. He was preparing for the season by playing in a summer league when he broke his hand. “One of my friends said, ‘Let’s run cross country just to stay in shape.’ I had done it in high school but didn’t like it. I started doing it here and I liked it.”
Fast forward to Saturday, November 4. One day after being named the Northeast Region Athlete of the Year and a First Team All-American, Yerow won the national championship in the 5-mile race at Holyoke Community College in Westfield, Massachusetts. “My thought going in wasn’t to win. I was running against people who had beaten me in other 5K and 10K races. I was thinking, ‘Just go out there, run your race, stay with the top guys and see how it goes.”
In the weeks leading up to the nationals Yerow had struggled in conference and regional competition. “Those courses had a lot of hills and were tough for me. There weren’t a lot of hills on this course so I didn’t get that tired.” Yerow performed better than he expected, took the lead and crossed the finish line first, beating his nearest competitor by just 1.1 seconds. His winning time of 26:24.8 was his personal best. “It felt great to win. All that summer training paid off!” During the summer he ran 30 to 40 miles a week and competed in 5Ks, 10Ks and marathons.
Yerow is a native of Kenya. He came to the United States in 2009 along with his parents and older brother. He will earn his degree in Criminal Justice next May. Congratulations Abshir Yerow!