Canadian Running

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot


On Boston Marathon weekend i n April, Charles PhilibertT­hiboutot of Quebec City started his season off right, winning the b.a.a. 5k in 13:35 and breaking the Canadian record—by one second. The previous record, set by Paul Williams, was five years older than cpt himself; it was sweet vindicatio­n after an injury prevented him from making Team Canada for the Tokyo Olympics, and a taste of what was to turn into the most successful year of his career so far. In May, at age 31, Philibert-Thiboutot went on to set a new personal best in the 5,000m at a meet in California; a week later, in Burnaby, B.C., he did the same in the 10,000m. In July, he attempted the 1,500m/5,000m double at the World Athletics Championsh­ips in Eugene, Ore., getting as far as the semi-final in the 1,500m. And in August, he set a new Canadian record (4:56.88) in the 2,000m. Later that month, for the seventh time that season, Philibert-Thiboutot dipped under 3:40 in a 1,500m race in Switzerlan­d, finishing fourth. Some context: Philibert-Thiboutot was a successful varsity athlete and made his Olympic debut at Rio in 2016, finishing 16th in the semifinal of the 1,500m. After the Olympics, he dealt with some injuries, but still managed to win three consecutiv­e national titles between 2016 and 2018. In 2019, injuries prevented him from qualifying for the World Championsh­ips in Qatar, and in 2021, once again he was disappoint­ed not to go to Tokyo, achieving standard just after the qualificat­ion window closed.

Philibert-Thiboutot’s longtime coach, Félix-Antoine Lapointe, says that over the years, they have tried various approaches for keeping him healthy, and they are finally seeing success. “We had to adapt his training plan day to day, depending on how he feels,” says Lapointe. “When a hard session is coming, I ask him, do you think your body is ready to go? If he’s feeling sore or doesn’t feel great, we push it to the next day. Between hard sessions, we add at least two or three days of recovery—maybe even four—with easy running only, at a controlled pace.” Lapointe also credits Team Canada physiother­apist Marilou Lamy with helping to keep Philibert-Thiboutot healthy.

Philibert-Thiboutot says that, “being one of [Lapointe’s] very first high-performanc­e athletes, we were guinea pigs for a while; we’ve literally tried every possible physical stimulus we could try on my body, and now we have this formula that works.”

After missing the Olympics by a hair and then making Worlds, Philibert-Thiboutot made that the focus of his season, and when it was over, he took some much-needed downtime before he resumes training this winter in anticipati­on of the 2023 World Athletics Championsh­ips in Budapest.—

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada