Hamilton’s Coolsaet eyes London Olympics

For the first time since 1996, Canada is sending three male marathoners to the Olympic Games. Reid Coolsaet of Hamilton, Eric Gillis of Antigonish, N.S., and Dylan Wykes of Kingston all dipped below Athletics Canada’s Olympic marathon standard of 2:11:29 before the qualifying deadline of April 22.

Skateboarder-turned-marathoner Coolsaet is ready to take on the world after spending six weeks training with the
world’s best distance runners in Kenya.

“It’s great that we’ll have three runners representing Canada at the Olympic Games in the marathon,” said Coolsaet, who qualified at the recent Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon running 2:10:55 in less than ideal windy conditions.

He also had to take an unscheduled bathroom break near the 30km mark.

“I’m really looking forward to the coming months to maximize my training and preparation for the Games. “They only come around once every four years; I want to ensure I get the most out of my body and take calculated risks to get the best finish possible.”

Coolsaet’s preparation schedule includes the Ottawa 10K race on May 26 and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon on June 24.

Gillis was a member of the 2008 Olympic Games team in the 10,000-metres. He made the standard with Coolsaet in Toronto.

Wykes made the standard on April 15, exactly one week from the qualifying deadline, at the Rotterdam Marathon in Amsterdam.

“These three talented athletes have displayed the tenacity and necessary focus to succeed in the most gruelling event at the Olympic Games,” said Alex Gardiner, Athletics Canada Head Coach. “Their support teams – the coaches, scientists, medical team and family and friends – are all in. This is what it takes to compete with the best in the world. We believe these guys will be ready in London to perform at their highest level.”

In 1996 Canada was represented in the male marathon by Bruce Deacon, Peter Fonseca and Carey Nelson. The trios’ top finisher was Peter Fonseca who placed 21st overall in a time of 2:17:28.