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Genevieve Lalonde and John Gay are your 2021 Canadian cross country champions

It was a steeplechase sweep in Ottawa at the ACXC championships

Photo by: Sean Burges/Mundo Sports Images

After battling through snow, ice, mud and grass in the nation’s capital Saturday afternoon, two-time Olympian and Canadian women’s steeplechase record-holder, Genvieve Lalonde, and Tokyo Olympic steeplechaser John Gay were the winners of the 2021 Athletics Canada Cross Country Championships. This was Gay’s first time winning the event, and the third consecutive win for Lalonde after the 2020 race was cancelled due to COVID-19.

The women’s 10K

Gen Lalonde (left) and Maria Bernard-Galea racing ACXC Nationals 2021 in Ottawa. Photo: Sean Burges/Mundo Sport Images

Your 2021 Canadian Cross-Country Championships preview

Genvieve Lalonde and fellow steeplechaser, Maria Bernard-Galea, took an early lead in the women’s race. The pair went through the four-kilometre mark in 14:30, creating a significant gap on the chase pack, which was led by Hamilton’s Victoria Coates.

Lalonde began to break away from Bernard-Galea after the halfway mark, and continued to open up an increasingly large gap over the next several kilometres. During that time, Alexandra Lucki, who was second at the 2019 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 5K, took over the lead of the chase pack, fighting for the third-place spot on the podium, while Coates fell behind to fourth.

Maria Bernard-Galea, who took silver in the Women’s Open race at ACXC Nationals in Ottawa, Nov. 27, 2021. Photo: Sean Burges/Mundo Sport Images

In the end, Lalonde held her lead throughout the entire 10K course and crossed the finish line in first for the third consecutive year in 36:21. Bernard-Galea improved on her third-place performance in 2019  and finished behind her in second in 36:45, followed by Lucki in 37:54. Catherine Beauchemin was fourth, after finishing third place at the USports Championships last weekend.

“Cross country is an event for everyone, and no matter your ability you can come and use the course to your advantage,” Lalonde said after the race. “To be able to come out here and run with my friends and supporters… it keeps it fun.”

Alexandra Lucki, who took bronze in the Women’s Open race at ACXC Nationals in Ottawa, Nov. 27, 2021. Photo: Sean Burges/Mundo Sport Images

 

Women’s top 10

  1. Genvieve Lalonde, 36:21
  2. Maria Bernard-Galea, 36:45
  3. Alexandra Lucki, 37:54
  4. Catherine Beauchemin, 38:06
  5. Victoria Coates, 38:21
  6. Jade Berube, 38:25
  7. Lindsay Carson, 38:38
  8. Ally Ginther, 38:50
  9. Courtney Brohart, 38:54
  10. Elissa Legault, 38:56

Women’s top 3 teams

  1. C. A. Université Laval
    1. Catherine Beauchemin (4th)
    2. Jade Berube (6th)
    3. Jessy Lacourse (13th)
    4. Sara-Pier Paquet (16th)
  2. Unattached British Columbia
    1. Lindsay Carson (7th)
    2. Ally Ginther (8th)
    3. Rebecca Bassett (11th)
    4. Lisa Brooking (15th)
  3. Monarch Athletics Club
    1. Miranda Thompson (14th)
    2. Laura Desjardins (19th)
    3. Becca Brennan (20th)
    4. Kristina Popadich (26th)

The men’s race

Lead pack in the men’s open race at ACXC Nationals in Ottawa, Nov. 27, 2021. Photo: Sean Burges/Mundo Sport Images

Mike Tate of London, Ont.’s Bandits Elite led a large pack through the first kilometre in 2:53 in the men’s race. Gay took over the lead at the four-kilometre mark, but the pack was still tight enough that it was anyone’s race. By seven kilometres, a group of six led the way, made up of Gay, 2016 Olympian Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, Thomas Fafard, Phil Parrot-Migas, two-time Olympian Luc Bruchet, Andrew Alexander and Cameron Proceviat.

Gay pushed hard over the final kilometre to extend his lead, crossing the line in first in 31:34. Meanwhile, there was a battle for the top five positions behind him. Ultimately, Philibert-Thiboutot made a move in the final stretch to take silver in 31:42, and Proceviat out-kicked Bruchet for the bronze in 31:44, followed by Bruchet in fourth in 31:45.

“As soon as I heard that Maria and Gen were at the top of the women’s race, I thought, well there goes my last excuse,” said Gay after the race.

John Gay on his way to victory in the men’s open race at ACXC Nationals in Ottawa on Nov. 27, 2021. Photo: Sean Burges/Mundo Sport Images

Men’s top 10

  1. John Gay 31:34
  2. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot, 31:42
  3. Cameron Proceviat, 31:44
  4. Lucas Bruchet, 31:45
  5. Andrew Alexander, 31:54
  6. Thomas Fafard, 31:59
  7. Phil Parrot-Migas, 32:09
  8. Mike Tate, 32:16
  9. Thomas Nobbs, 32:19
  10. Connor Black, 32:30

Men’s top 3 teams

  1. Vancouver Thunderbirds
    1. John Gay (1st)
    2. Thomas Nobbs (9th)
    3. Tyler Dozzi (11th)
    4. Thomas Broatch (12th)
  2. London Western T.F.C.
    1. Phil Parrot-Migas (7th)
    2. Mike Tate (8th)
    3. Connor Black (10th)
    4. Jack Sheffar (17th)
  3. C. A. Université Laval
    1. Charles Philibert-Thiboutot (2nd)
    2. Thomas Fafard (6th)
    3. Jonathan Tedeschi (14th)
    4. Philippe Morneau-Cartier (29th)

2021 ACXC Nationals results: U18, U20, masters, community race

For a complete list of results, click here.