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Sasha Gollish gets involved in the running community after a breakthrough season

Runner, engineer, and advocate for the sport reflects on her 2015 season.

Gollish acting as a pace bunny at the Toronto District School Board cross-country race

After having a stellar track and field season in 2015 where she rose through the Canadian running ranks, Sasha Gollish has been an active leader in the running community this fall.

Two weeks ago, Gollish volunteered at the Toronto District School Board’s cross-country meet acting as a pace bunny in several of the races. Encouraging participation at the grassroots level had a profound effect for both the elite athlete and the young runners.

“It was such an inspiration to be part of the cross-country meet,” said Gollish. “Seeing the pure innocence and heart of so many of the young athletes reminded me of the reasons on how I got into this sport and why I continue to compete. All the boys and girls racing with their parents watching was great.”

Say cheese!

More recently, Gollish competed at the Toronto Women’s 8K. That happened last Saturday at the event that featured more than 1,000 participants. For competitive athletes, the series offers the opportunity to cross the line first, rather than being the first woman across the line, a unique feeling in a road race environment.

Despite winning on Oct. 24, Gollish’s main takeaway was the cohesiveness of the running community.

“Cory [Freedman] and all the organizers did such a great job at the event,” added Gollish. “Events like the Toronto 8K are so vital in bringing the running community together. All the runners were there competing for different reasons and all had a unique story.”

On top of community involvement, Gollish added Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Top Eight All-Canadian to her repertoire, a testament to her athletic ability and academic success at the University of Toronto in Civil Engineering. Gollish was named 2015 CIS Female Athlete of the Year (in track events) after winning five medals, including three gold, at the CIS Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Gollish’s 2015 season was highlighted by winning bronze in the 1500m at the Pan American Games in Toronto in August in addition to capturing silver at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in the same event.

“The Pan Am Games in Toronto was so encouraging with all my friends and family there to watch,” noted Gollish. “When I stood on the podium, I was able to reflect on all those who have been with me on this journey.”

Gollish is an athlete ambassador for Fast and Female, a not-for-profit society dedicated to empowering young women ages eight to 18 through sport, and is also one of Oiselle’s newest athletes. Oiselle is a premium women’s running apparel brand based in Seattle, Wash. and Gollish is just one of a select few representing the brand in Canada.

What’s next for Gollish? She still has one year of CIS eligibility remaining so expect to see the student-athlete-engineer sporting varsity blue in 2016.