Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Wheelchair Racer Josh Cassidy Overcame Rough Winter En Route to Boston: Cassidy Overcame Rough Winter En Route to Boston

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Wheelchair Racer Josh Cassidy Overcame Rough Winter En Route to Boston: Cassidy Overcame Rough Winter En Route to Boston

Article excerpt

TORONTO - The months leading up to the Boston Marathon weren't exactly what Josh Cassidy would have deemed ideal.

There was a sickness that puzzled doctors, stretched for several weeks and landed him in hospital. There were financial woes, a lack of motivation, and a broken-down car that forced him to book rentals to get to and from training.

But the 27-year-old from Oakville, Ont., went on to win the wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon earlier this month in stunning fashion, racing to the fastest time ever recorded for a marathon and putting wheelchair racing on the map in Canada.

"Just everything was going wrong at once this past winter," said Cassidy, who was back home in Toronto on Wednesday. "It was just like one of those times where it just seems everything is coming at you and the universe is just throwing one thing at you after another, but you keep working hard and being positive and then eventually it will always turn around and it did.

"I just got in the groove and kept moving forward."

Cassidy, who will be one of Canada's top medal hopes at the 2012 London Paralympics, wound up in hospital during a two-month training stint in Australia. Doctors briefly thought prostate cancer, but it turned out to be complications from a urinary tract infection.

His bank account suffered when he blew a year's worth of wheelchair tires -- at $180 apiece -- in the span of a week. Then his car died.

Crossing the finish line in Boston was a massive relief. It was also a two-second world record, a bit of a surprise considering the temperatures soared to 27 C that day.

Cassidy, who holds four Canadian wheelchair records, from the 1,500 metres up to the 42.195-kilometre marathon, has won road races around the world. But none landed him in the spotlight like capturing the Boston crown did, his smiling face splashed across newspapers and televisions. …

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