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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Lesley Cantwell

The Southland Athletic community will be mourning the loss of Lesley Cantwell who passed away recently in Tahiti.

This is an extract from Lane Smith’s excelent weekly Running Times newsletter

“You have walked your last race
But you are still here in our hearts
And always will be."

The entire athletic community in Southland pays tribute to your courage, determination and spirit. And the Southland team will forever be incomplete.

The race walking community is close and supportive of each other and Lesley’s passing has hit them all hard. These tributes from New Zealand’s best race walkers are all the more meaningful coming from fellow competitors.

From Rozie Robinson.
Rozie Robinson was Lesley’s closest rival and even closer friend.

“Lesley, I have known you since I was a wee year 9 turd as you use to say on athletics trips. You were "the walker" I was just another runner. Looking at you racing is what got me into racewalkin & you know that. You went doing not only something you loved "racewalking" but also with a gold medal representing New Zealand. Never ever forgotten Hun never ever!

Lesley was an amazing athlete she not only went doing what she loved walking but she also went with a gold medal from representing New Zealand. She was a close mate and good rival on the sports field. Her dad coached me back in yr 9 as a runner and in hockey so their family was close to me . She will forever be missed.

“Road Nationals in August is for you Lesley! I’ll be racing for you and bringing home a medal for you!”

From Quentin Rew
Quentin is New Zealand’s top race walker – he holds the 20km NZ record and has represented New Zealand at the Olympics and World Championships.

So tragic, so unexpected.

Aside from being a tremendous athlete, Lesley has lit up New Zealand athletics since her return to the sport in 2011. She made so many friends, and her unfailing positivity was infectious. Being a single, working mum to three year old Brooke, training alone in remote Te Anau, and battling shin pain with every step, she personified the daily sacrifices and struggles that athletics brings - but also the immense rewards.
 
I was lucky enough to spend time with Lesley at races, most notably our 2012 trip to Hobart with the New Zealand team for the Oceania Race Walking Trophy. She truly was an amazing woman, who will be dearly missed. There have been tears shed here in Leeds, and her family and friends around the world are all united in grief. If you are religious, please pray for Lesley and her family. If not, please keep them in your thoughts.”

R.I.P Lesley Cantwell 1987 – 2013.”







Lesley Cantwell competing at the 2011 Road Champs on the Wellington waterfront