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Vancouver’s John Gay and Victoria’s (hometown: Moncton, NB) Geneviève Lalonde won the 2021 Canadian Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Ottawa.

Both are Tokyo Olympians, and both compete in the 3000m steeplechase.

The win was the second national championship for Gay in 2021. In June he won the 3000m steeplechase at the Montreal-hosted national championships and Olympic Trials in the time of 8:20.68. A month later he set his personal best in Tokyo at 8:16.99.

Saturday, the 25-year-old University of British Columbia Thunderbirds alum covered the 10K course in the time of 31:34. Finishing eight seconds back for second place was 1500m specialist Charles Philibert-Thiboutot of Quebec and the third-place finisher was Vancouver’s Cameron Proceviat in 31:44.

Proceviat is currently studying Medicine at UBC.

Athletics Canada reported that the lead pack had ten men wide in the late stages of the race when Gay made a surge that gapped everybody by 50 metres.

Gay said, “seeing fellow track runners like Lalonde and Bernard-Galea dominate the women’s field gave him confidence as he prepared for his race.”

“I figured that was just as good a justification as any for me to go for the win… I’m glad I could keep my foot on the gas pedal,” he said, before smiling and adding that he is two for two in races since becoming married to his wife Camille.

Vancouver’s Luc Bruchet, a teacher and member of the BC Endurance Project, led by Richard Lee finished in fourth place just missing the podium by a second with a 31:45 clocking. The 30-year-old has been in an open feud with Athletics Canada over their funding choices. Bruchet left of the funded athlete’s list is a two-time Olympian and has recently run new personal bests in his discipline, the 5000m event. In June he clocked a PB of 13:12.56. However, he is racing in the shadow of the two fastest 5000m runners in North American history, Canadians Mo Ahmed (12:47.20) and Justyn Knight (12:51.93). It is suggested that Athletics Canada is banking on future performances from the athletes who received the funding.

The Thunderbirds won the team event with a low score of 33 with members Gay (1), Thomas Nobbs (9), Tyler Dozzi (11) and Thomas Broach (12). Very close behind was C. A. Université Laval with 38 points. Their finisher place: Philibert-Thiboutot (2) Thomas Fafard (6), Jonathan Tedeschi (14) and Xavier Bertrand (16). With a very strong team effort for third place was London Western T.F.C. with 42 points. Phil Parrot-Megas (7), Mike Tate (8), Connor Black (10) and Jack Sheffar (17).

Lalonde has finished top-20 at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships and won the 2020 Pan Am Cross Country Cup that was held in Victoria, BC. Saturday, she clocked a 36:21 finish time for the win. Athletics Canada wrote that Lalonde broke away from another steeplechaser, Maria Bernard-Galea of Calgary, AB, shortly after the mid-point of the race to capture her third consecutive ACXC title. The two women ran away from the pack in the first kilometres of the race. Lucki, the third-place finisher is from Toronto.

Lalonde was pleased with her race and said that being the defending champion did not add much pressure.

 “Every course is different and competing and doing your best never gets old,” she said.

Lalonde has the national record in the steeplechase at 9:22.40, which she set during this summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games.

C. A. Université Laval won the team event in the women’s race. Their top finishers were Catherine Beauchemin (4), Jade Berube (6), Jessy Lacourse (13) and Sara-Pier Paquet (16).

A team that looked suspiciously like the Langley Mustangs Endurance Group finished second in the team event, registered as Unattached. The athletes include Lindsay Carson (7), Ally Ginther (8), Rebeca Bassett (11) and Lisa Brooking (15).

The Monarch Athletics Club finished third with 79 points had members placed in the following positions Miranda Thompson (14), Laura Desjardins (19), Becca Brennan (20) and Kristina Popadich (26).

Provincial team results are available here>>

Full results are available here>>

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