Gollish Wins, Proudfoot Defends at XC Championships

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    Sasha Gollish is the 2016 Canadian Women’s Cross Country champion. Gollish was the first to cross the finish line in the Senior Women’s 10k race (2016 marks the first time that both Senior men and women ran the same distance) in 33:52.

    Gollish broke away with about 2k remaining, jumping ahead of Rachel Cliff, who held the lead at that point. Gollish, the fifth place finisher in 2015, maintained seemingly perfect form all the way through the final lap.

    Cliff held on for 2nd place and Claire Sumner rounded out the top 3. For Cliff, the finish was an improvement over her 3rd place finish the previous year, while Sumner makes a big leap from a 22nd place finish in 2015.

    Gollish, a PhD candidate in Civil Engineering at the University of Toronto, only returned to competitive running in 2014 after an early retirement in 2002. In 2015, Gollish represented Canada at the Pan-Am Games, taking home a bronze in the 1,500m. Earlier this month, she also won the Indianapolis Half Marathon with a time of 1:11, the second fastest time by a Canadian woman at that distance.

    In the post race interview, Gollish was rather blunt, proclaiming, “I don’t like cross country and this course is my nemesis.” She credited her choice of long sleeves and tights for making her race strong after nearly fainting in the cold last year.

    Ross Proudfoot defended his Senior Men’s title, holding off Olympians Matt Hughes and Lucas Bruchet, the latter of whom broke away early in the race and led at the halfway point. The gap was eventually closed by Proudfoot and Hughes and the three ran close until Proudfoot and Bruchet became their own pack with a little more than a kilometre remaining.

    Proudfoot’s 29:51 finish marks a big jump form his 30:06 in 2015. Bruchet was the runner up followed by a late surging Trevor Hofbauer who rounded out the top three. Notably absent from the race was Olympian and Canadian 5K Road Race champion Charles PT, who made a last minute decision to sit the race out due to illness.

    Proudfoot, who had just missed the Olympic squad this year, proved that his name is still in the mix among Canada’s elite. In the post race interview, he stated that his goal was to focus on indoor while trying to stay injury free. His ultimate goal is to land a spot on the Canadian squad for the 2017 World Championships in London.

    Congratulations to all competitors at today’s event! Full results from all races can be found here.

    – Ravi Singh