Simon backs a winner

Simon Storage Ltd (“Simon”) and its Canadian parent company, Inter Pipeline Fund, were delighted to back Josh Cassidy, a Canadian Paralympic athlete, in a wheelchair race through the Tyne Tunnel Josh completed the course in an astonishing 4.04.3 minutes, to become winner of the 2010 Tyne Tunnel 2K International (“TT2K”).

In its 10th year, the TT2K wheelchair race is a unique and breathtaking event which takes place in North East England every September in the dead of night when the Tyne Tunnel is closed to traffic. With its 50mph downhill and ‘killer climb’ uphill, the race is not for the fainthearted. Quite understandably, TT2K, the fastest wheelchair race on the planet, attracts world record holders and Paralympic champions from around the globe, but also sets aside places for young British athletes to race with their peers.

Before the race, Josh’s assessment of the situation naturally included the competition: “The Tunnel goes deep under the River Tyne, making for an extremely fast descent, followed by an arm-burning one-kilometre climb to the top. Past winners, Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa and David Weir of Great Britain, were my two biggest competitors. Ernst is a nine-time winner of the Boston Marathon, and he descends like a bullet with his large upper frame. David is arguably the best climber out there, maybe next to only Kurt Fearnley of Australia.”

In the event, Cassidy hit in excess of 46mph on the downhill section of the tunnel road and completed the gruelling climb out of the 2km course in an astonishing 4.04.3 minutes, 17 seconds outside the course record.  He finished ahead of last year’s winner, double Beijing gold medalist, David Weir, who completed the course in 4.13.3 minutes. Ernst van Dyk, the 2007 Tunnel 2K winner, took third place with a time of 4.23.0 minutes.  Speaking after the race, Josh said: “This year had the toughest competition in years, and so it was great to come out on top. I was pleased to have a clear win, and also setting a personal best.”

Simon was represented at the race by Gary Lacy, Engineering Director, and his wife, Linda. Gary is based at Simon’s Tyne Terminal located within the Port of Tyne. Gary and Linda braved the northern weather to witness this remarkable event which exceeded their expectations. Gary remarked: “We both very much enjoyed the excitement of the occasion and were delighted to meet the winner who, along with the other participants, showed terrific stamina. It was also pleasing to see Middlesbrough’s Jade Jones take second place in the women’s race.”

Jade, a 15 year old GCSE student and a newcomer to TT2K, was the youngest athlete ever to compete in the race. According to she is already World Junior Champion and record holder in the 100m to 1,500m. Simon is proud to be associated with Middlesbrough where another of its facilities, the Seal Sands Terminal, is located.

Josh Cassidy, 25, is one of Canada’s premier Paralympic athletes. In April 2010, he won the London Marathon’s wheelchair race, then went on to capture the 800m, 1,500m and 5,000m events at this summer’s Canadian track and field championships in Toronto, increasing his career title haul to five. He will next compete in the men’s T54 (wheelchair) 1,500m race in Delhi at the Commonwealth Games. Josh’s website tells the story of a remarkable man.