© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated gue-hs12-lalonde

On Saturday, Moncton’s Genevieve Lalonde broke the Canadian 3,000-metre steeplechase record, during the Prefontaine Classic Diamond League track meet that took place in Portland, Oregon. She crossed the line in the time of 9:32.17, to finish in tenth position. Her previous best was 9:35.69 from June of 2015.

Asked about her experience she told Athletics Illustrated, “The race was definitely a wonderful experience. Walking into Hayward is definitely all it’s cracked up to be! My expectations going into the race were honestly to hold on as long as possible and to go for the Canadian Record.”

Asked to describe how the race unfolded Lalonde said, “The rabbits were set to hit 9-flat pace, so it was obvious it was going to be the fastest race that I have ever been in. That said, it would line up perfectly to be a potential practice for an Olympic final. The race began quite fast and right on the set pace. I held on as long as I could, but began to fall off. I stuttered going over a number of hurdles and so there were a few times where I lost the pack and was having to chase after a jump. With three laps to go I heard my coach from the sideline telling me I looked smooth, so I began to pick up my own pace a bit. I picked off a few people and made progress over the last couple of laps. I came in and honestly had no clue what I ran. I knew it would be close, and was happy to break the record.

Regina’s Jessica Furlan previously had the record, which she set in July of 2014 at 9:33.45 in New York. The Rio Olympic standard is 9:45.00. Currently Canada has three athletes that have run under the standard. They will need to compete in the 2016 Rio Olympic trials taking place in Edmonton in July.

During the qualification window Lalonde had already run the 9:35.69 performance, while Furlan had run 9:39.20. Erin Teschuk of Winnipeg with her performance of 9:40.07 is currently the third Canadian to run under the Olympic standard.

“Training has been going really well and I knew I was fit to make it happen,” said Lalonde. “Jessica Furlan set it a couple of years ago and she definitely led the Canadian steeple girls. It’s amazing how far we have all come in the past couple of years. Of course I am happy now, but still looking to do more, I am quite excited to see what I can do next!”