Genevieve Lalonde achieves her goal at 2016 Olympics

As Genevieve Lalonde lined up for the medal race at the Olympic Games, she was in awe. She looked around, found her parents, gave them a wave, then focused.

Lalonde set out to make the medal race in her event, and the best race of her life got her there

Moncton's Genevive Lalonde, right, was able to make the finals in the 3000 metre steeplechase by running a personal best. (AFP/Getty Images)

As Genevieve Lalonde lined up for the 3,000-metre steeplechase medal race at the Rio Olympics, she was in awe. She looked around, found her parents, gave them a wave, then focused.  

"I knew where they were sitting because I had gone to see them after the preliminaries," said Lalonde.

Lalonde finished the medal race of the 3,000 metre steeplechase in 16th place with a time of 9:41:88. 

"Unfortunately I was breathing fire and couldn't really hold onto my legs at all, but I left it all on the track and I can't be more happy about that."

But that's not the race Lalonde will be remembered for.

Her goal going into her first Olympic Games was to at least be in the picture for that final race.

She wanted to make it out of the preliminary heat. 

I'm over the moon about that and just really pumped that I set out those goals and I achieved them.- Genevieve Lalonde

"I knew that's where I wanted to be and I was going to do everything in my will power to get there," said Lalonde.  

"I trained knowing that it was probably going to be the hardest race of my life and it definitely was. Well I don't know, after the final I think the final was probably the hardest race of my life."

Where there is no debate, is that the preliminary race was the best race of her life.

She ran a time of 9:30:24, a personal best and a new national record. She knew going in that it would take a personal best to make the final. 

"I'm over the moon about that and just really pumped that I set out those goals and I achieved them," said Lalonde.

"To race in the Olympics is one thing. To race well and really put the hammer down and perform is another."

Genevieve Lalonde smiles during a CBC interview Saturday after qualifying for Monday's women's 3,000-metre steeplechase. (CBC)
Throughout the Olympics, Lalonde received messages from fans and supporters around Canada. In her hometown of Moncton, there was a viewing party for both of her races. 

"It's just been so humbling to have all these people support me. I'm not any different than I was growing up. I'm still the young kid from Moncton," said Lalonde.

"To be able to do that and represent New Brunswick and everyone back home it's just such an honour to have that put on my shoulders." 

Lalonde's first Olympic experience isn't done yet though.

She'll be spending some time with her parents and cheering on some of her friends who have yet to race.

She'll participate in the closing ceremonies, then she'll head home with more training not so far off on the horizon. 

"Now looking forward there's a lot more in there and a lot of things we want to work on, but also a lot of potential and I'm looking forward to it," said Lalonde. 

"I'm really looking forward to see what more is in the bags, but first off, a little bit of rest." 

About the Author

Philip Drost

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.