“…it’s got a few hills, and there is mud; it’s the best. I am quite an advocate for “adventure” terrains, so the rougher the conditions the more I enjoy cross-country.”

© Copyright – 2012 – Athletics Illustrated

Twenty-one-year-old Moncton, New Brunswick native, Geneviève Lalonde, is a steeple chaser (3000msc) who will be competing for one of the top positions in the 2012 Canadian Cross Country Championships that will take place on November 24th in Vancouver, BC.

Lalonde is coached by Dave Scott-Thomas and competes for the University of Guelph Gryphons. On Nov. 10, Lalonde helped her Gryphons team to an eighth-consecutive national championship win, which is a CIS record. Coach Scott-Thomas, was named Coach of the Year for both the women’s and men’s teams, for the second straight year.

Lalonde has twice competed in the IAAF World Cross Country Championships and has competed twice in the IAAF World Junior Track and Field Championships in the 1500m distance and once in the 3000msc.

In the North American, Central American and Caribbean Athletics Federation U23 Championships (NACAC) she finished fourth. She finished first in the 2011 CIS Cross Country Championships and was honoured with the annual Athlete of the Year award.

Personal bests:

1500m – 4:19.20
2000msc – 6:37.41
3000msc – 9:55.01.

Christopher Kelsall: Again, the Gryphon women and men win CIS. Congratulations. How did your race go?

Geneviève Lalonde: I’ll start off by stating that it was a good “race.” Going in I discussed with my coach Dave Scott-Thomas about the pressures of going in as the reigning champion. I am pretty fit at this point, and we agreed that because I had won the year before, I couldn’t really do better. Thus we agreed to make it a race, and get something out of it. And a race it was! I lead for the most of it, and got to play back and forth with my past teammate Lindsay Carson, it was fun. Until the last 500m hit, and I realised I was hitting the wall. Luckily I am supported by a strong team of Gryphons, and I was happy to see that two of them took over, and brought our team to its biggest margin of victory yet!

CK: Proves cross is a team event, doesn’t it?

GL: Definitely does, our team this year has been closer than ever. We are already great friends, but to put in the work day in and day out is a whole different story. I am so lucky to have my best friends as my best training partners; it just makes life so much more enjoyable.

CK: What sort of trainer are you? Do you work best off lower, quality miles; complex training or higher aerobic-developing volume with periodization?

GL: I have typically run a decent amount of mileage. This year I stepped it up a bit, and on my highest week I think I was around 135 kms. Which isn’t anything crazy, but I’m hoping to keep increasing, and work off of a stronger base, surprisingly I find it easier to manage a higher amount of volume.

CK: At what age did you get your start in running?

GL: I started racing cross-country when I was seven, but I only really got into the sport around age 13, I figured out that I was way too hyper active to ever become a ballerina, and running brought me so much joy that it made the switch quite easy.

CK: Ballet training is fantastic for developing the feet and ankle area. There is a lot of power that can be harnessed there.

GL: Yeah, actually originally I was placed in dance to correct my internal rotation, but it helped a lot with my balance and stability, I have never had any big issues with my ankles, so I guess it helped in the long run.

I will say that (Dave Scott-Thomas) DST has provided us with ample amounts of different types of training, thus allowing us to adapt in different ways, to different race outcomes. I guess you could say that dance did help with this sport.

CK: Are you hoping to run NACAC and Worlds Cross if you qualify at Nationals?

GL: I am not sure about that yet. At the present time, I don’t intend to. I’ve done the whole world XC thing as a junior, and loved it, but reality is that it is a long way’s away, and it takes a lot of time away from school, so I’ll have to take life into account before I make my decision.

CK: What about World Track and Field Championships?

GL: I am not really thinking about that though, I am still relatively young, or so I like to think, and I’ll probably try for FISU again this year and see where things take me. I think I speak for most track athletes as it’s not a fun process to  “chase” after standards, so if they come they come, otherwise I’ll just take my summer season as it comes.

CK: What are you taking at school?

GL: I am currently in my fourth year of Environmental Sciences, with a major in Geography. I get teased by my team, as being sort of the “hippy” or environmental activist, but I love running in trails, so I have to stand up for our natural environment somehow!

CK: You would fit in on the west coast. Geography, eh. I guess you know where Bydgoszcz, Poland is.

GL: I sure hope that anyone in my era of running knows where Bydgoszcz is, seeing as they are about to host their second World Cross, and they had World Juniors there in 2008. I haven’t been yet, maybe someday!

CK: Do you know the course at nationals? Is it Lalonde-friendly or do you prefer firmer ground?

GL: Yes, I ran my very first national cross-country championships there, and I believe there is a picture lingering around where I have bib #1, and am leading the race for the first km. I honestly had no idea what I was doing, but it is on the coast, it’s got a few hills, and there is mud; it’s the best. I am quite an advocate for “adventure” terrains, so the rougher the conditions the more I enjoy cross-country.

CK: Are you going for the win, this year? With Sheila Reid out, does that change your plans?

GL: Honestly I am going into this race a bit blind, Sheila has definitely proven herself to be the up and coming Canadian distance running girl, she has an immense scale of diversity from the 1500m to the 5km, and I have definitely been inspired. Yet, I believe distance running in this country is finally starting to spark, and I think it’s a really exciting time. So I am just going to go out and enjoy running with the best in Canada, and see what happens!

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