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10 fun questions with UBC’s John Gay

Get to know one of the fastest university long-distance runners in Canada

John Gay


The next athlete featured in our ‘Shoutout Tag’ series is fourth year UBC student-athlete John Gay. A 3,000m steeplechase specialist, he had a busy year representing Canada at the Francophone Games in Côte d’Ivoire as well as at the World University Games in Taipei, both in the summer of 2017. Recently, Gay has been showing great form this indoor season, setting a new personal best of 7:57 in the 3,000m.

RELATED: UBC joins Canada West – and likely U Sports – for 2018.

We recently caught up with the international relations student to see which friends, teammates and rivals he calls out in ‘Shoutout Tag,’ where runners answer questions with a shout-out (or two) to a fellow Canadian and cap off the Q&A with who they would like us to feature next.

Alex Cyr: Who is most likely to make it in Hollywood once they retire from running?

John Gay: Corey Bellemore – I roomed with him at Francophone Games and FISU [World University Games] this summer. He is getting used to the limelight that comes with being the beer mile world record holder and now a sub-4:00 miler. That guy’s personality is meant for the spotlight – who could dislike Corey Bellemore?

AC: Who has the prettiest running stride?

JG: After spending a few weeks at training camp with him, I have to go with my boy Anthony Romaniw. Once he takes his shirt off, the temperature heats up 10 C.

AC: If you could trade lives with one person, whose life would you choose?

JG: I hope to naturally transition to Chris Winter as I age. He is a fellow steeplechaser who is now happily retired. He is married, he is an Olympian… he seems to be comfortable – he has it well made. But, to anyone seeing his name in any local race entry list, be wary. He still works out by pacing his wife, Rachel Cliff, in workouts. He is as fit as he has ever been, so don’t sleep on him.

AC: If you were trapped on a deserted Island, who would you want there with you?

JG: My assistant coach [at UBC] Norm Tinkham. He is a physiotherapist, and an all-around great guy. When I think of someone who embodies a Canadian runner, it’s him. He could keep me healthy and he is a Maritime boy, so his savvy could keep us alive.

AC: Who’s stand up comedy show are you most likely to go watch?

JG: I think I would get a crack out of my teammate, Jesse Hooton. He has a unique sense of humour. I would pay to see him get on stage with a beer in his hand – just to see what happens.

AC: Who would you want to take on a date? 

JG: I am taken, so it would be my girlfriend. She is an 800m runner on the UBC track and field team. It was the classic love story: distance boy falls for 800m mid-distance girl…

AC: Who do you think still plays Pokemon GO?

JG: I think Blair Morgan still played for months after it was big. When I travelled with him to Taipei, as soon as we got Wifi he was going on walks, looking for new Pokemon to catch. I will not be surprised if he does the same in El Salvador (when the two compete for Canada at the 2018 Pan-Am Cross-Country Cup).

AC: Who would you elect as the next Prime Minister of Canada

JG: I would go with my teammate, Max Trummer. He is politically active and, if called upon, he would put aside his extreme positions and fall towards the political centre to pilot our country.

AC: Who would you put in charge of your social media for a week?

JG: I would ask for my accounts to be jointly operated by my sister and a former teammate of mine, Evan Elder. My sister is in charge of my unofficial fanpage – @FansofJohnGay – on Instagram. She is a whiz on social media. Elder also contributes his fan art to the page between miles, as he is on the marathon grind right now.


AC: Who do you tag to be the star of this next feature?

JG: Thomas Riva. The world should know about his 1500m PB from high school.

Also, while I am at it, I would like to negate Victoria Coates’ claim about me being a red-head. Though my skin burns like a red-head, my hair colour is blond – strawberry blond at best.