|Joshua Cassidy, of Ottawa, breaks the tape to win the men's wheelchair division of the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2012. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)
OTTAWA - After breaking one record, Ottawa native Josh Cassidy wants to set another straight.
Cassidy’s name has been everywhere since the wheelchair racer broke the world record in the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Google searches turn up conflicting reports that the 27-year-old sensation was born in Oakville, Toronto or even Port Elgin.
“Everyone claims me as their own,” said Cassidy, who did move around a lot as a child with a father in the military. “Ha ha, born in Ottawa.”
Cassidy’s winning time of 1:18:25 bested by two seconds the mark set in 2004 by nine-time winner Ernest Van Dyk of South Africa.
His feat is even more remarkable considering Cassidy was diagnosed with neuroblastoma — a cancer in the spine — when he was just three weeks old. A delay in prognosis allowed time for it to spread from his abdomen to his spinal cord. He was not expected to survive.
He’s done much more, becoming one of Canada’s top wheelchair racers, even though he’s only been racing competitively for 10 years. Cassidy has set numerous Canadian wheelchair records and has won two marathons in Ottawa alone.
Now his sights are set on Paralympic gold this summer in London. In the 2008 Games, Cassidy’s best finish was fourth in the 5,000 metres. He also competed in the 800, 1,500 and 10,000 metres.
“Winning Boston was a major goal for Josh,” said David Burdus, Cassidy’s promoter. “Expectation — nothing less than gold (at the 2012 Paralympics).”