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John Gay snags Canadian steeple title and Olympic standard

The 8:22.00 standard had eluded him all season, but he pulled it off in a near-solo effort in Montreal on Friday

John Gay Photo by: Jim Finlayson

John Gay of Vancouver has been racing in the U.S. throughout the spring and summer, in search of the elusive 8:22.00 Olympic standard in the steeplechase, but he kept coming up just short. That all changed on Friday at the Canadian track and field Olympic trials in Montreal, where he gutted out seven solo laps for an 8:20.68 finish – a three-second PB, the national title, meet record and Olympic auto-qualification.

Alex Drover was second, in a season’s best 8:50.17, and Cole Dinsdale was third, in a season’s best 8:51.67.

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Gay ran a huge PB of 8:23.96 at Hayward Field on April 24, and went into this week’s meet with an 8:23.52. He and Matt Hughes are the only Canadian men with standard, at this point.

The women’s steeplechase also ran last night, and saw Regan Yee and Alicia Butterworth surge past Gen Lalonde in the final stretch to take the win in 9:31.46 (for Yee) and second place in 9:32.40 (Butterworth). (Lalonde, who is also the Canadian record holder, already has standard in the event.) 

Many of the athletes competing in Montreal have a last-chance qualifier coming up on Tuesday, and are still hoping to be selected to Team Canada based on their world rankings or on achieving the Olympic standard in their event.

The action continues today and tomorrow in Montreal, with some weather-related schedule changes, and can be viewed on athleticscanada.tv