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Alex Genest who happens to be the Canadian Junior record holder in the 3000 meter steeplechase will be moving to Guelph, Ontario this spring, to continue his studies in Human Nutrition at the University of Guelph for the 2009/2010 school year. Genest also the 2007 Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) Cross Country MVP, may suit up for the University of Guelph Gryphons in 2010 after sitting out a year due to transferring.

Meanwhile Genest just may help the Speed River Track and Field Club’s steeplechase team, become the strongest steeplechase team in Canadian history. Alex will be training with Olympic trials steeplechase champion Rob Watson and CIS Cross Country Champion, Matt Brunsting.

2000 Metres Steeplechase 5:51.61 Sherbrooke 13/07/2003
3000 Metres Steeplechase 8:30.82 Århus 06/07/2006

From Head Coach, Dave Scott-Thomas

“It should be pointed out that Coach, Joel Bourgeois is also a key piece of the mix. We’ve created a pretty strong pool of talent with our plans to get Canadian steeple-chase rolling.”

“When I visited the city last fall, I had a really good time. The places to run are awesome and the group of runners is amazing. The resources around the Speed River group are what I’m looking for to reach my goals,” commented Genest on his move from Sherbrooke, Quebec.

CK: Alex, congratulations on your decision to transfer to Guelph, you must be excited; is your excitement muted a little having to take a year off from Varsity?

AG: When I took my decision to transfer to Guelph, I had in mind to become a better steeplechase runner. Varsity running was lots of fun, but since I was racing a lot indoor track, I couldn’t get as fast as I would like to go on the outdoor track. So the first goal by moving (to Guelph) was to get faster in the summer. I’ll miss CIS cross-country a lot, but I might come back next year. I will figure this out later on.

CK: So are you looking at a summer of higher mileage and aerobic conditioning?

AG: I’ve done a lot of mileage and aerobic trainings in the past few months and I will continue to train like this, but I’ll race quite a bit this summer. There will also be track trainings so I can try to improve my times on steeple and also in 1500m and 5km.

Beginning a new type of trainings means adjustments and adaptation. This is why my first goal this year is to know what fits and what I might need to change soon. At this point, everything is going well. I feel good!

More from Dave Scott-Thomas

“He is serious and professional as an athlete, and ready to do the work it takes to be international class. We went out for coffee one day and ended up in a three hour talk about training with energy systems, meet schedules and work-out ideas were drawn all over the place. He has a wonderful curiosity to understand his training, which is really fun to see and motivating as a coach.”

CK: Many Flotrack readers are indeed athletes however, not everyone has had the pleasure to race steeple. Can you take us through the process of placing the foot in the right position and getting over the steeple in good form?

AG: This part is really technique –as you know for sure- and I’ve worked a lot on this part. The first thing you need to think is going forward and try to keep your gravity center low, because if you jump and move your gravity center high, you will move upward and this is not what you want!

I think the best way to practice it is to sequence the movement.

1. Take a little run before the barrier and just put a step on it. Don’t jump!

2. Get on the barrier. Place yourself low as you were in movement. Just push off with your feet and move forward.

3. Do not do this in the water pit first! Try it where it’s dry!!!

There is no secret answer, just practicing and get the feeling of where your foot has to be when you jump!

CK: You mentioned that in addition to working with Dave Scott-Thomas, you are working with Joel Bourgeois saying, “He has taught me a lot of how to get better”. Can you elaborate on specifically what you have worked on with Joel that has helped you?

AG: First of all, Joel taught me the base of trainings; how to get stronger with trainings that are fun and not always rough. I used to get sick a lot and train really hard on the track 3 to 4 times-a-week. It worked for a bit and I did great things with that kind of trainings, but I had to change my approach if I want good results in the future. So this is where Joel helped me and I’m really happy with this right now. I feel in a better shape and I don’t feel like I’ve pushed out my body so bad. Awesome feelings!

CK: Earlier in an email exchange you mentioned that you are into music, who is on your iPod right at this moment?

AG: I’m listening to the new album of Pierre Lapointe- Sentiments Humains and also the new one of Mes Aïeux- La ligne Orange. There are always Bob Marley’s songs and some popular songs also. I like to listen to a wide range of music style!

CK: Pierre Lapointe seems to write in irony and with plenty of wit and sarcasm as in, Au Bar Des Suicides. Did you listen much to his previous work on Mutantes?

AG: Pierre Lapointe is known for his sarcasm and the songs are sometimes pretty dark. He owns his world and the musicality with the lyrics make such good songs. I didn’t listen a lot Mutantes, but I really enjoy “La Forêt des Mal-aimés”, which made me discover the “Pierre Lapointe Planet!” and I enjoy it because it was different then what I used to listen to.

CK: You said you like an artist who creates good lyrics. Do you run to Leonard Cohen or Tom Waits?

AG: I do listen to Leonard Cohen, but the thing is that my English is still not at a high level so sometimes it is tough for me to understand everything. I’ll get better and I will get more good English singer and lyric writers in my ipod!

CK: You are you a hockey fan! Les Habitants (Montreal Canadiens) are out of the Stanley Cup play-offs, so who may you be cheering for at this point? (of course this is a big assumption that you cheer for Montreal).

AG: Go Habs go!

Like a lot of Canadians, I often watch hockey and I’ve always been cheering for Montreal, as a Quebec inhabitant. Now that they are out, I’m having a look at the games between Washington and Pittsburgh. I really like how Washington is playing and I hope they will go far in the series!

Final question

CK: I assume of course you’re ‘A’ goal is steeple qualification for London 2012 Olympics. Can you share with me any specific goals for the intervening few years to London?

AG: Effectively, my goal is London 2012 Olympics and it won’t be a cup of tea! This summer I want to do FISU and the main goal for this year is to get used to the new training and my new environment. Then I want to run around 8:20 in 3k steeplechase and participate in 2011 World Champs in Korea. I also want to improve my 1500m and 5km, and maybe participate in IAAF World Cross-Country Championships.




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