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Sami Jibril, Sasha Gollish win; Leslie Sexton races men’s 10K at AO championships

The Athletics Ontario Cross-Country Championships were Sunday in Niagara Falls. Leslie Sexton notably raced the men's 10K.

Sami Jibril

Sami Jibril

From the bantam to masters division, runners of all ages and abilities were in Niagara Falls, Ont. on Sunday for the Athletics Ontario Cross-Country Championships. The provincial open championships were held at Fireman’s Park, one of southern Ontario’s more popular cross-country courses having hosted the Ontario high school championships in the past.

The event was held one day after the Canadian Collegiate Cross-Country Championships and the Canadian University Cross-Country Championships. The Nov. 12-13 weekend was a busy one for cross-country runners in Canada.

Senior men’s 10K

Leslie Sexton, one of Canada’s fastest women in the marathon, competed in the senior men’s 10K on Sunday. The London, Ont. resident has been an advocate for cross-country distances to be equalized between men and women. Athletics Ontario, the province’s governing body, offered a 6K race for women while the men contested 10K. See Sexton’s letter to Athletics Ontario from September for the backstory.

“I ran the men’s 10K because I wanted to be ready for the new women’s championship distance in Kingston, Ont. at the Canadian Cross-Country Championships this year,” she says. “I didn’t want a national championship to be my first 10K cross-country race, so I asked AO if they would let me run in the men’s race this year. If it helps to prove a point about women running the same distances as men, all the better. I was disappointed that AO did not update their distances this year, but the AO technical director has been good about reaching out for input on the women’s distances and AO will start to equalize distances in all age groups in 2017.”

Men's 10k start. It's so warm out!!! #aochamps #aoxc2016 #crosscountry

A video posted by Athletics Ontario (@athleticsont) on


Sami Jibril of the Newmarket Huskies won the senior men’s race ahead of a large pack of Toronto Olympic Club runners. He covered the 10K course at Fireman’s Park in Niagara Falls in 30:45. Sexton ran 35:42 for the 10K to place 24th overall.

Senior women’s 6K

Sasha Gollish, who recently won the Indianapolis Monumental Half-Marathon in one of the fastest times ever by a Canadian, ran 20:26 for 6K to top the women’s division. Rachel Hannah was second and Victoria Coates was third.

Grade 11 star Brogan MacDougall was fourth overall competing in the senior division.

Senior Women's 6km have started. Beautiful day at Fireman's park in Niagara Falls #aochamps #aoxc2016 #crosscountry

A photo posted by Athletics Ontario (@athleticsont) on

Results (click for other age categories besides masters and senior)