Lee Wesselius Brings Home Bronze for Canada at NACAC Half Marathon Championships
Team Canada bested four other teams and claimed top honours at the 2022 NACAC Half-Marathon Championship in San Jose, Costa Rica on Sunday May 22.
The team of three men and three women, led by Sasha Gollish of Toronto, Ont. and Lee Wesselius of River Glade, N.B. claimed four of the six individual medals, and swept the women’s podium.
“The athletes all ran well-executed races, holding back and catching up to some competitors who went out too fast on the hilly course,” said Team Head Coach and Coaching Education Manager at Athletics Canada John Lofranco.
The women’s race saw Gollish take home the individual gold medal in a time of 1:17:55, besting the entire field by nearly two minutes. Laura Desjardins, also of Toronto, claimed second in 1:19:51, and Colleen Wilson of Halifax, N.S. won individual bronze in 1:20:06.
“This morning was really awesome,” said Gollish in the hours following the race. “We all worked together as a team. The race went out together and in a slow pace until about 12k. I made a surge on one of the big hills and Laura and Colleen went then too. We broke away at that point to secure the podium.”
On the men’s side, Wesselius won individual bronze in a time of 1:05:02, trailing Alberto Gonzalez Mindez of Guatemala’s winning time of 1:03:29. Kieran McDonald of Red Deer, AB and Phil Parrot-Migas of London, ON finished in sixth and seventh place in 1:06:34 and 1:07:05, respectively.
“I was happy with how my race went,” said the 28-year-old Wesselius, who represented Canada internationally for the first time on Sunday. “I started out conservatively with Kieran and was only seventh at the halfway point, but started picking people off and was running with 2 others in the late stages of the race. I thought I had a shot at silver but got gapped on the downhill.”
Scoring for the teams race takes into account only the first female and first male to cross the finish line, so Wesselius and Gollish’s third and first place earned Team Canada the top prize of $3,000 USD, split between all six racing members. Gollish, for winning the individual title, took home an additional $2,000 USD.