Näak Ambassador Chris Balestrini
Professional Road Runner
“It never gets easier, you just go faster.”
A disciple of endurance athletics, I began my sporting career with the Garneau-Quebecor Professional Cycling Team in 2009. After beginning university, I pivoted my athletic ambitions toward running, where I was an All-Canadian in Cross-Country for the Western Mustangs. After university, I transitioned to track, road, and trail running. I currently have personal bests of 29:22 (10k) and 2:17:05 (marathon). Throughout my athletic career I’ve combined my passion for endurance sport with a keen interest for physiology and human performance. I am now completing simultaneous degrees in Medicine (MD) and Neurobiology (PhD) at Western University. All in all, I love to be outdoors pushing myself in the endless pursuit of finding my limits!
I raced on the Garneau-Quebecor professional cycling team for 3 years before transitioning to triathlon, where I had my international elite card, and finally switched to running during university. I was a mid-pack runner in university until my final year where I was All-Canadian in Cross Country. From there, I started taking training more seriously and have been continuously improving ever since!
My goals for 2021 are : Break the Canadian 50k record, Run notable FKTs in the Canadian Rockies, Run under 2:15 in the marathon and Run under 29 minutes for the 10k.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU EVERY DAY TO TRAIN?
There’s something inspiring in the pursuit of pushing your body and testing your capabilities that really stokes my motivational fires! Also, I just love being outdoors in any capacity! My friends joke that I get bored when my heart rate is below 120!
DO YOU HAVE A PERSON WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I Roger Bannister in the sense that he competed at the highest level of athletics while pursuing a career in medicine! I also try to take in various aspects of friends and fellow athletes to apply to my life, so in a sappy way, the whole endurance sport community!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NUTRITION TIP TO SHARE ?
Fuel early, fuel often! If you feel like you are running low on energy, it’s likely too late!
WHAT IS YOUR BEST RACING MEMORY?
The last marathon I did was pretty special in a lot of ways. Being 2020, it wasn’t the big-event hype that we were all accustomed to, but a small 10-finisher marathon in Waterloo, Ontario. It was a cold, rainy day on a 1.7k loop. The race had an intimate vibe and I was fortunate to have friends that braved the day and cheered me to my personal best (2:17:05). I was alone for the last half of the race, but with their support it never felt like it!
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU LIKE TO DO AFTER A COMPETITION?
Relax with friends over some food and craft beer!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MUSIC TO SURPASS YOURSELF IN TRAINING?
I have an eclectic taste in music! My running playlist includes things like jazz/funk, country, hip hop and R&B, indie folk, 2000s emo, etc.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NÄAK PRODUCT?
My favorite product is the Berries & Nuts bar!