Paris is out for N.B. runner after season of setbacks

With Olympic qualifiers set to take place next week, one New Brunswicker runner won't be taking her shot.

Geneviève Lalonde, who now lives in Victoria, B.C., but grew up in Moncton, has competed at two previous Olympic Games. She finished 16th in the 3000-metre steeplechase in 2016 and earned a Canadian best in Tokyo in 2020, where she finished 11th.

But Paris is not in the cards.

"We were, you know, anticipating that there would be bumps and niggles, but then, you know, one of the bumps was maybe a little bit too big to overcome," she said.

Bronze medal winner Geneviève Lalonde, of Canada, left to right, silver medal Shalaya Kipp, of the USA, and Ashley Higginson, gold medal winner pose for photos after running in the women's 3000m steeplechase final during the athletics competition at the 2015 Pan Am Games in Toronto.
According to Team Canada, Lalonde, far left, had her breakout season in 2015 when she won steeplechase bronze at the Pan Am Games in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

Eight months ago, she gave birth to her daughter and "she's been my world these days."

"As much as running is still important in my life, you know, nothing, nothing beats that of a child."

According to Team Canada, Lalonde's breakout season was in 2015 when she won bronze in steeplechase at the Pan American Games in Toronto and made her World Athletics Championships debut in Beijing.

WATCH | 'Something just didn't feel quite right':

In 2019 she won steeplechase gold at the Pan Am Games.

She also broke the national record twice when she competed at the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

The trials, which will decide who will represent Canada in track and field events at the 2024 Games, are set to take place June 26 to 30 in Montreal.

Everything had to go perfectly

Lalonde said she took a few months to recover after the birth of her daughter before she began to run again, with the quick timeline of the summer Games on her mind.

If Paris was going to happen for her, she said everything had to go perfectly and according to plan.

In January, while out for her daily run, she said something didn't feel right.

She walked home and expected a few days of recovery for what turned out to be a calf injury "and then days turned into weeks and then weeks turned into months."

Genevieve Lalonde of Canada celebrates her victory in Women's 3,000m Steeplechase Final on Day 15 of Lima 2019 Pan American Games at Athletics Stadium of Villa Deportiva Nacional on August 10, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
Lalonde celebrating her victory at the 2019 Pan Am Games, where she won steeplechase gold. (Buda Mendes/Getty Images)

Lalonde said that injury, coupled with her recovery from giving birth, made for too many things stacked against her.

But this isn't the end. She said her goal is to be back competing internationally again.

She will start racing in the fall and hopefully enter the season in a bit better shape.

And as for the 2028 Games, Lalonde said that's still up in the air.

"Ultimately, you know, I want to keep going and having fun with the sport," she said.

"My coaches always say, 'A happy Gen is a fast Gen.'

"So if I'm running really well at that point, then for sure, why not?"