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Posted: October 8, 2017:  

Athletics: Sasha Gollish Triumphs at Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon

George Byron Alex takes first place in menís race

3-time Super Bowl Champion Roger Craig runs on behalf of ALS Association

Ron and Susan Carino finished their 100th Rock Ďní Roll Race hand-in-hand

San Jose, CA: October 8 - The fastest half marathon in California lived up to its speedy reputation on Sunday at the 12th edition of the Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon. Canadaís Sasha Gollish was the first woman to break the tape in the center of Silicon Valley. The 35-year-oldís victory, under sunny skies, was clear-cut with Gollish running one hour, 12 minutes and 57 seconds for the 13.1-mile distance. Gollishís finishing time equated to an average of 5:33 per mile.

Sasha Gollish Breaks Tape - credit Victah Sailer/PhotoRun

"To be honest, I felt not at my fittest," said a humble Gollish after her win. "It was a great test out there. I relied a lot on [second-place finisher] Mara [Olson] and another guy out there to do the work. I kept telling myself to enjoy the crowds."

Gollish stated that the incredible support along the course really helped bolster her spirits. "My gosh, San Jose has a wonderful group of people," she said. "In my head, I told myself that Iíve been uncomfortable before so I knew I could keep on going." She said her strategy going into the race was to have a "crap-ton of fun".

"Goal achieved," a smiling Gollish said. "I think the cheerleading groups out on the course were, by far, my favorite part. I recommend this course one hundred percent to anyone. Sometimes when you run a half marathon you can find some dark places, so itís really cool to have so much gratitude and love." Up next for the Canadian after Sundayís victory is to gear up for her countryís cross-country season.

Second place in the womenís half-marathon division went to Mara Olsen who had battled with Gollish for the win. The 24-year-old San Franciscanís time was 1:13:04. Third place went to another American: Jennifer Bergman from Portland, Oregon, who ran 1:16:46.

The menís race was not as close as the womenís with George Byron Alex from Phoenix, Arizona winning in 1:03:40Ė25 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, Tyler McCandless (1:04:05).

George Byron Alex Breaks Tape - credit Victah Sailer/PhotoRun

"It was a gorgeous morning," said Byron Alex afterwards. "You couldnít ask for a better day. I am training in Phoenix and itís starting to get like this, but not quite. Iím excited to be here."

Bryon Alex played the underdog role in the 13.1-mile race, coming from behind in the last few miles to gain the lead. "In the beginning, I was wondering if I gave them [the lead pack] too much room. But I had a race plan. Thatís the best thing about road racing is that you can run your own race and still do really well at the end." Byron Alex admitted that Sundayís race was his first in the build-up to his debut marathon, the Californian International Marathon, in December. "I didnít know what to expect. I wasnít sure, but this win gives me a lot of confidence," he said.

Third place in the menís division was awarded to Craig Lutz from Flagstaff, Arizona (1:04:17).

A 10K race was held in conjunction with the half marathon on Sunday. Benedikt Bunz won the menís race in 31:41, while Amy Schnittger was the female champion in 35:56.

Familiar face and 3-time Super Bowl Champion, Roger Craig, took on the 10K for a special cause. The former San Francisco 49er ran in support of the ALS Association to honor his friend and former teammate, Dwight Clark raising money in support of this deadly disease.

This year marked the 12th year running of the Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon. The race is known as Californiaís fastest half marathon when both the menís and womenís state records were set there in 2006. On Saturday, the 5K presented by Brooks and KiDS ROCK events took place with the main event on Sunday with the half marathon and 10K.

True to all Rock Ďní Roll races live music and cheer teams encouraged runners on their way to the finish line where an incredible party awaited them in Plaza de Cesar Chavez Park. Boston-based alternative band Letters to Cleo took the stage as the headliner act and gave finishers something to rock out to.

For more information, visit

2017 Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon 
Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time

1. George Byron Alex, 27, Phoenix, AZ 1:03:40 
2. Tyler McCandless, 30, Boulder, CO, 1:04:05
3. Craig Lutz, 24, Flagstaff, AZ, 1:04:17
4. Matt Leach, 24, Mountain View, CA, 1:04:22
5. Shadrack Biwott, 32, Folsom, CA, 1:04:24

1. Sasha Gollish, 35, Canada, 1:12:57
2. Mara Olson, 24, San Francisco, CA, 1:13:04
3. Jennifer Bergman, 25, Portland, OR, 1:16:46
4. Dawn Grunnagle, 39, Dallas, TX, 1:17:32
5. Lyndy Davis, 27, Portland, OR, 1:18:02

About Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon

The 12th annual Rock Ďní Roll San Jose Half Marathon, 10K & 5K will take place the weekend of October 7-8, 2017. The fast and scenic course will give runners a first-class tour of downtown San Jose starting at W. Santa Clara St. and Almaden Blvd and finishing at Plaza de Cesar Chavez. Runners can rock to the sounds of live, local bands, along with enthusiastic cheerleaders to keep participants moving. Runners who complete the Saturday 5K and Sundayís half marathon or 10K will earn a special Remix Challenge medal in addition to each raceís finisher medals. A two-day Health & Fitness Expo kicks off race weekend at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center on Friday, October 6 and Saturday, October 7. The expo will have numerous vendors featuring the latest in running gear, nutrition and training tips. To register for the race or for more information, visit or follow us on Twitter @RunRocknRoll.

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