© Copyright – 2022 – Athletics Illustrated

Toronto, Ontario’s Sasha Gollish broke the Canadian 40-plus age-group record in the 1500-metre distance event Sunday at the La Classique d’athlétisme de Montréal. She finished second in the race that saw Simone Plourde with Saint-Laurent Sélect take the win in the time of 4:15.53. Jazz Shukla finished third in the time of 4:19.69.

Gollish clocked a 4:16.46 finish to improve upon Ema Kozek’s 4:23.63 performance from May 31, 1986. For more than 36 years the record stood for the then 41-year-old Kozek who accomplished the feat at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium.

Gollish, an engineer with a PhD, already holds the W35 record at 4:07.70 from Los Angeles in 2017. If she is still interested, no doubt the W45 age-group record record will be available. However, the 40-year-old is not specifically seeking records. She will take them if they come.

“I’m moving into a semi-retired phase of my career and it’s all about having fun for me these days,” shared Gollish. “It’s great to be back training and competing with the community again.” 

“I’m racing to have fun. So if a record happens, it happens.”

Well, it keeps happening.

Last year she set the W35 national record in the mile at the age of 39 clocking a 4:23.17 performance. Not only is that a fast time, but she was the oldest she could be for the 35-39 age-group.

In 2017, in Portland, Oregon she clocked a 15:24.12 5000m performance to take the national record for the W35 category.

In 1999 Patty Blanchard set the national 40-plus record in the 5000m, expect that performance to be bettered by Gollish, given the opportunity. Blanchard’s time was 16:42.78 — it’s well within reach.

Gollish is in great company. The W40 mile record of 5:21.65 is currently held by Thelma Wright. Wright set it in 1992 in Burnaby. Although it will be tough to usurp Diane Cummins‘ W40 800m record of 2:01.38. Cummins formerly held the open national record at 1:58.39 before Melissa Bishop-Nriagu began to race so well.

Some of the other track and road records from the mile to 10K are held in esteemed company including Marilyn Arsenault, Lucy Smith, Natasha Wodak, Malindi Elmore, Nancy Tinari among others.

Gollish may be entering semi-retirement mode, but the former triathlete ran the record without much in the way of specific training.

Asked whether she went after the record or was it just a happy outcome of a good race, she said, “I knew what the record was going into the race but time is never my focus. I wanted to put myself into the mix and see what these legs could do with minimal speed training. I got out a little slow and felt pretty flat through the first 600, after that I got my head back into the game and kept my eyes up and went for it when the opportunity arose.” 

Was she surprised?

“Surprised is not the adjective I would use. I’m not sure how I’d describe how I feel about the outcome. Sure it’s great. But I’m a process driven person so I rarely focus on the outcomes. Regardless, it was a great re-introduction to racing some faster stuff on the track.”

No doubt there is more to come, stay tuned.