The 2017 Canadian Cross Country Championships take place November 25 in Kingston, Ont. We will profile a few of Canada’s top cross country competitors leading into this year’s event. For more information: http://athletics.ca/championnat/2017acxc
Sasha Gollish of Toronto, was the 2016 Canadian Cross Country champion. Gollish won bronze at the 2015 Pan Am Games at 1500-metres and represented Canada last this past spring in Uganda at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships.
AC: You just wrapped up the USports portion of your xc season last week in Victoria. How did it feel to takethe win in both the team and individual competition?
SG: Over the moon! But really. I wrote a reflection piece and posted it on my blog (www.sashagollish.wordpress.com); it was all about the magic of being a part of team, which you really only experience in XC as a MD (middle-distance) or LD (long-distance) runner. The team win is definitely a memory that I will hold close in my heart forever.
AC: At the IAAF Cross Country Championships in Uganda, you got to be a part of the pre-race press conference. What was that and the competiion like in Uganda?
SG: Uganda was awesome. When I was invited to attend the pre-race press conference, I pictured one individual from each country and sitting in the back corner. When I arrived and they said I was sitting beside Seb Coe, I was really nervou. More nervous than I felt for the race. Now back to the race, the competition was awesome, but more than that, the fans. There were droves of people deep along every inch of the course. It was absolutely incredible.
AC: You run a variety of distances, half marathon, 1500-metres, 5000m, cross country....do you have a favourite and why?
SG: They all have their merits, so you know I’ve never really thought about it, every race is an adventure and a lot of fun.
AC: You’re the defending Canadian Cross Country champion. How are you feeling coming into this year’s race compared to last year?
SG: Every race is different, which couldn’t be more true then in cross-country, a variety of elements that all of the competitors have to go up against, including each other. And in Kingston, we really could see a variety of conditions through the whole race! I’m looking forward to next Saturday, I have no expectations other to enjoy my time out there on the course.
AC: You recently helped organize an event in Toronto for girl’s to become familiar with and embrace sport. What made you want to take part and what lessons did you and the other athletes pass along?
SG: I organized an event with Fast and Female (an organization dedicated to the empowerment of young girls through sport). I know how important and how awesome sport has been in my life, which I wanted to share, along with a whole bunch of world-class athletes. I also wanted to show these young girls that you can continue to be competitive in what people would currently describe as later in life (i.e. me, competing at the age of 35!). I will continue to work with Fast and Female; I look forward to planning some events for 2018 and meeting even more young women.