George Byron Alex (63:40) And Sasha Gollish (72:57) Win Rock ‘N’ Roll San Jose Half-Marathon

Press Release
October 8, 2017

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

“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.”

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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 I’ve 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 it’s really cool to have so much gratitude and love.” Up next for the Canadian after Sunday’s victory is to gear up for her country’s cross-country season.

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

The men’s race was not as close as the women’s with George Byron Alex from Phoenix, Arizona winning in 1:03:40–25 seconds ahead of second-place finisher, Tyler McCandless (1:04:05).

“It was a gorgeous morning,” said Byron Alex afterwards. “You couldn’t ask for a better day. I am training in Phoenix and it’s starting to get like this, but not quite. I’m 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. That’s 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 Sunday’s race was his first in the build-up to his debut marathon, the Californian International Marathon, in December. “I didn’t know what to expect. I wasn’t sure, but this win gives me a lot of confidence,” he said.

Third place in the men’s 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 men’s 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 ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon. The race is known as California’s fastest half marathon when both the men’s and women’s 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 ‘n’ 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.

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2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll San Jose Half Marathon
Place, Name, Age, Hometown, Time


  1. George Byron Alex, 27, Phoenix, AZ1:03:40
  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
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