BIG WIN at Peachtree 10K in Atlanta!!!
So I’m VERY happy about my win at Peachtree :) A great way to end a long three weeks on the road for competition! Despite having some problems and a few obstacles to overcome during the week. While I had some great personal bests and Canadian records on the track in Switzerland, I didn’t feel completely where I wanted to be until near the end. So this race win was big for me, it meant alot to have a clear win with a good gap from halfway. I’m very happy with my result.
Cassidy is ‘King of the Road’
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Canadian Josh Cassidy decimated a world class field in the prestigious Peachtree 10km, 4th July, taking his third major road race title in as many months!
The outright victory in the wake of his wins in the Virgin London Marathon and National Marathon Championships, Ottawa earlier this year marks him out as a man you better take seriously on the world wheelchair race circuit.
Peachtree, Atlanta, is arguably the biggest 10Km in the world with world record holders and Paralympic champions from around the globe packing the start line. Among the elites were: Marcel Hug of Switzerland who claimed four new world records last week (Cassidy less than a second behind in three events); course record holder Saul Mendoza of Mexico; South African born Krige Schabort who has most of the fastest times recorded at Peachtree; South African, Ernst van Dyk – 7 time Boston Marathon winner, world record holder for the marathon and previous Peachtree winner, top Japanese racer, Soejima Masazumi; young U.S. talent Jordan Bird and Mexican Aaron Gordian.
Cassidy’s game plan was to feel out the field in the first few kilometers before making his attack. True to form, Hug started very strong – he and Cassidy broke early with 2 other competitors on their tails. Cassidy made a bit of a break before a major 60km/h downhill after a couple kilometers with Hug, Bird and Soejima closely pursuing. A few heavier/more aerodynamic athletes caught up by the bottom. However, Cassidy made his move at the bottom, surging into a 4km gruelling climb, nicknamed ‘cardiac hill’ due to its extremely similar resemblance to Boston’s ‘heartbreak hill’. His sustained attack had kept his lead from the halfway point, opening up about a 20 second lead by the top of the hill. With only 3km to the line, it was head down and both hands to the hammer to extend and maintain his advantage to the end. The gap at the finish between first and second in this event is one of the most considerable in recent years. A statement Cassidy had also made in his win at the London Marathon.
Said Cassidy, “I glanced at my clock, it read 17 and a half minutes with the finish in sight. I couldn’t believe I had a shot at the course record! I gave everything I could until the end but was over by 15 seconds. I’m VERY happy about my performance.”
Cassidy’s time of 18:53 is a personal best and 45 seconds faster than last year’s 2nd place performance.
The win makes up for a rough start to Cassidy’s week – his racing chair arrived two days late, missing connections at London Heathrow, on its way back from the Championships in Switzerland. The chair had been damaged in transit, requiring repair to broken wheels and bent fenders which resulted in the Guelph based Paralympian, missing the Cedartown 5K, Georgia on Tuesday.
Cassidy had also slept the night before the race on the hotel floor! “Everything was booked weeks before and my teammate Jean-Paul Compoare was nice enough to let me room with him, but when we arrived at the hotel we found that it was booked out of cots! I was worried a bit about how it would affect my racing, but quickly put it out of my mind”. Cassidy’s fitness combined with his ability to deal comfortably with a little chaos is proving to be a successful combination and bodes well for him on the road to the Paralympic Games in London 2010.
Next up on Cassidy’s calendar is the National Championships for Track and Field at the University of Toronto Stadium July 29th to 31st. The event is his second of only three competitions in Canada this year.