Genevieve Lalonde breaks Canadian 3000m steeplechase record in Shanghai

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Genevieve Lalonde, originally of Moncton, New Brunswick, broke the national 3,000-metre steeplechase record on Saturday. Racing in the Diamond League Shanghai meet, she crossed the finish line in 9:29.82. The performance was good for seventh place in a world-class field.

The race was won by Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, who finished in the time of 9:04.53. Second place went to Celliphine Chepteek Chespol also of Kenya in 9:11.10 and third to Ugandan Peruth Chemutai in 9:17.78.

Chepkoech is currently ranked world number one in the event. She has won at least six Diamond League steeplechase races and finished fourth in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

The previous Canadian record, which Lalonde also owned was accomplished in the 2017 London IAAF World Track and Field Championships at 9:29.99.

In Aug of 2016, she qualified for the steeplechase final of the Rio Olympic Games with a personal best and new Canadian record of 9:30.24.

In Shanghai, it was her first race of the season, perhaps a rust buster.

“The race began fast but I stayed quite conservative moving almost to the back,” said the 27-year-old. “The goal was to get out there and gain some experience. Two laps in I was in a comfortable position but I began to start picking people off and progressing much better into the hurdles, then with 1600m to go, I felt awesome and just kept on progressing from there on in.”

Asked if training for the longer cross-country season during the winter may have helped with her early season fitness she agreed, but also mentioned that she was sick directly after the 2019 Aarhus IAAF World Cross Country Championships and had to take some downtime. She was the highest Canadian finisher in 20 years at world cross – it was a great performance.

“The cross-country build was great for me this year. The team was just so amazing and I had some really good experiences. I think it will definitely benefit me moving forward in the season as this race was really only off of a few weeks of  key track sessions, so I’m really looking forward to having this great base for the longer than normal season ahead.”

But after all the longer training, this first steeple would seem fast.

“Yes, having trained for 10K most of the year running my first track race of 2019, the pace seemed fast.”

During the final 400m, she managed to catch up to the group ahead and close fast.

“[I] sprinted to the line. I was really pleased with the time as it felt really great and yes, I am happy to begin my season and get all of the standards out of the way, but really just happy that I had fun and enjoyed running another steeple.”

The Doha IAAF World Track and Field Championships take place starting Sept. 27. The entry standard is 9:40.00. That hurdle is cleared.

The 2019 Pan American Games standard is much easier at 10:15.00. Pan Ams begin July 26 in Lima, Peru.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games standard is 9:30.00 or an athlete who doesn’t qualify by time must be top-three nationally and could use global rankings to qualify. With her 9:29.82, Lalonde is ranked 30th with a points performance score of 1153.

Lalonde will race the 1500m on Tuesday in Nanjing, China before heading home to Guelph, ON.

Other Canadians in the meet include Michael Mason who cleared 2.22m for eighth place out of 10 competitors in the men’s high jump.

Alysha Newman vaulted 4.52m to finish seventh of 10.

No surprise that Aaron Brown and Andre de Grasse would go 1-2 in the 200m event. Brown won the race in 20.07, while de Grasse was well back at 20.21. It was a season-best performance for Brown. His personal best is 19.98 from Oslo 2018.

Full results from Shanghai are available, here>>