2013 Canadian National Track and Field Championships
Josh Cassidy was looking to defend his titles for another year in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m, and 1000m events at this year’s Canadian Track and Field Championships in Moncton, New Brunswick.
Cassidy has had quite the impressive streak. He has been winning medals at National Championships for the last 7 years. But for the last 5 years of National Championships, Cassidy has won gold in each of his events, save for one silver performance in one event in 2009. A pretty good winning percentage for arguably the most competitive Paralympic event at the National Championships.
However, he knew that this year would be tough defending his titles. It was a busy spring for Cassidy as he competed in the Boston, London, and Seoul Marathons, all within a span of three weeks. After a tough day at the Boston Marathon, a crash in the London Marathon, and a fatigued performance in Seoul, Cassidy was ready for some time off. Lack of funding for an international meet in Switzerland helped make his decision final, taking what would normally be an untimely break in May.
“I needed a break (in May). Mentally, physically, I was just drained. Everything was telling me it was time.”
Cassidy had apparently never taken real time off after the London Paralympic Games.
“It was a huge disappointment being ill during London last year… it was supposed to be the pinnacle of the last four years of hard work, training and preparation. It was devastating really.. and I found the only way to let go was to keep moving forward. I continued to race all through the fall, as it helped get some of that anger and frustration out. I won every race I competed in for the rest of 2012, took a little bit of time off in November, and then was in top gear again, motivated to defend my title in Boston”
“I knew it would be tough going into Nationals, having had two weeks off in May, but my body needed it. I wish I could have taken more time, but I was required to compete at the Championships. And of course, I didn’t want to let go of my titles.”
Cassidy trained hard in the weeks leading up to the competition.
However, in the end he lost his 1500m, 5000m, and 800m titles by milliseconds.. 0.44 (2nd) 0.55(3rd), 0.03 (2nd) respectively. The 800m was a spectacular photo finish, losing by merely an inch.
Though Cassidy still managed to dominate the 10,000m, and come away with the gold in the final lap.
“This whole meet I came to win. I wasn’t going to give up these titles easily. And giving up the 10000m wasn’t an option. I’m glad I still came away with one.”
Cassidy says it has fuelled his fire to move forward, again.
The Boston Marathon champion and record holder is continuing full steam ahead, with competitions in Birmingham, UK this weekend, where he will face off against Paralympic champion David Weir, and world record holder Marcel Hug in the 1500m.
Also within the next 3 weeks, the Peachtree 10k Road Race in Atlanta and the Boilermaker 15k Road Race in Utica before shipping off to Lyon France in preparation for the IPC World Championships July 20th-29th.
Cassidy will be competing in the 800m, 1500m, 5000m, 10000m, and Marathon.
*photos by Ryan Rowat*