Win at Rolling Rampage 10k on Parliament Hill
Paralympian Josh Cassidy claimed outright victory for Canada yesterday in the 6th annual Rolling Rampage 10K wheelchair race, Parliament Hill, Ottawa.
The historic historical and beautiful backdrop of Cassidy’s birth city inspired him on to beat the cold, the wind and a strong international field, leading from start to finish in the 18.5 lap circuit.
April 14th, 2011-
The Parliament Hill course is a simple loop, but potentially dangerous – athletes hit nearly 40kms an hour at the bottom of the short sprint downhill with a scary 90 degree bend. Cassidy took the first lap hard and strong, to be sure to hit this risky corner first. He then maintained an impressive high pace into the headwind and on the section up the bank to the top of the hill allowing him to keep a 30 second gap ahead of the field.
Said Cassidy, “It was very tough out there and just a lactic burner. A few athletes held on for the first little bit, dropping back and chasing until eventually it was clear that no one would be catching me in the final laps.”
Even the Australian champion Kurt Fearnley, Gold medalist in the Marathon Beijing 2008 and five times New York Marathon winner couldn’t reel him in. Cassidy said “After pushing with Kurt the last few days, I know he is very strong and was the biggest threat today. In all honesty I imagined it being a sprint finish between him and I, with him coming out on top.” Many others also expected a close sprint finish with the Australian Paralympic and World champion adding the Rolling Rampage title to his long list of wins, but on the day, Cassidy had a different outcome in mind.
“To do a 10km race from the front, start to finish, is a feat I am proud of. It definitely wasn’t the plan, but I just fought through the lactic and kept going. I believe Kurt was about half a minute back, which is a very good gap.” The Frenchman Denis Lemeunier finished in third place.
Said Cassidy, “So it’s very cool to come here to the place I was born and show what I’ve accomplished. The crowd was great, a few schools were there and the energy was awesome. It was a surprise to have so many people cheering me on by name.”
In the women’s race Diane Roy and Keira Frie gave Canada first and second place with Jessica Galli of the USA placing third.
Multiple Canadian record holder Cassidy defends his London Marathon title on 17th April. “I am very happy about today. A great indication of where I am at physically so I am excited and ready for London. I just hope everything goes as planned on race day. No matter what, it will be a hard fought race, and I will not give up the title easily…”
Josh paid special thanks to The Inter Pipeline Fund, his sponsor for this event and the London Marathon. “My training, equipment and travel is very expensive and Inter Pipeline’s support is essential to helping me on my road to the London 2012 Paralympic Games”.
Rolling rampage on the Hill is a venture of the Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons (CFPDP). The Honorable Vim Kochhar, Senator and board member of the CFPPDP, said “The Canadian Foundation for Physically Disabled Persons has dedicated itself to promoting the vast, unheralded wealth of talent and ability in Canada’s disability community. Sports and Canada’s Paralympians, in particular, have always been a central focus of that campaign because we believe in the power of sport to heal and inspire. In recognizing outstanding athletic achievement Foundation projects like the Terry Fox Hall of Fame, the Great Valentines Gala and the WhyNot Marathon have served notice to the world that people with disabilities are every bit as gifted and accomplished as their able-bodied peers. The Rolling Rampage will connect these athletes with the enthusiastic audience that they deserve.” See http://www.amiando.com/rollingrampage.html
Cassidy added, “ It was great to be a part of high profile race that puts out such a positive profile of disabled people. We really need events like this because they show the public, the media and sponsors what we can do. Rolling Rampage is good for sport and its good for Canadian disabled people, Well done to Senator Vim Kochhar and the CFPDP team!”
The CANADIAN FOUNDATION FOR PHYSICALLY DISABLED PERSONS was established in 1985 to assist people with physical disabilities to live fuller lives.