Näak Ambassador Jean-Philippe Thibodeau
"I recently decided that I needed a new challenge so I started ultra trail."
It has been several years since I started high performance sport. I started as a 200 meter breaststroke swimmer, and then moved onto triathlon racing for 12 years! Quickly afterwards, I started competing in the ITU where my best performance was a silver medal at the Canadian U23 championship. Subsequently, I started racing in half-Ironmans before I fully focused on Xterra at a professional level! By the way, I made some podiums at the pro level, 5 world championships with best results 12th! I recently decided that I needed a new challenge so I started ultra trail running in 2019. So far, I have competed in the Harricana 125km, the long distance world championships and the Gaspesia 100 (TP100). My future goals are not yet super defined, but the Leadville 100 is certainly one of them.
WHAT MOTIVATES YOU EVERY DAY TO TRAIN?
Very simple: I like it.
DO YOU HAVE A PERSON WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I have respect for many of the top athletes. Although many of them inspire me, here are the first 3 I think of: Tim Don (go listen to the video ''THE MAN WITH THE HALO'' and you’ll understand why), Rob Krar (he's been at the top for a long time and his talent both on two wheels and on the racetrack inspires me. He has won both the Leadville on his bike and the Leadville at the race with a pretty impressive time, which is secretly my goal), and Anne-Marie Comeau (not just anyone can go to the Olympics for cross-country skiing with a running preparation! Her work ethic, consistency and hard work pushes me to go further too!).
WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR NOT LOSING ENERGY DURING your races?
For those of you that know me, you will know that I am not a good adviser on this subject. I eat and drink whatever I can get my hands on and I go by "feeling". Nothing is really calculated.
WHAT IS YOUR BEST RACING MEMORY?
Xterra Argentina: In 2017, I decided to stop everything and go into exile just to practice my sport. After 3 months of training in Chile, I took part in the first race of the Pan-American circuit in Xterra, Argentina. This was a race that went perfectly. I was the first to get out of the water, my bike was perfectly controlled and my legs were like never before. Despite the almost unbearable temperature, I was only caught by three men. After the race, I managed to catch up with one man and finally finished 3rd: my first podium at the professional level!
WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU LIKE TO DO AFTER A RACE?
Nothing beats the pleasure of a good beer after an intense effort! It's always more satisfying after a good race than a bad one, ah!
What is your favorite music to surpass yourself in training?
I'm a very big fan of music and I like all kinds of music. However, during training, nothing beats good old AC DC or Eminem!
What is your favourite Näak product?
My favourite product at Näak is the Mocha Hazelnut Ultra Energy Bar. During a long bike ride or after a long run, nothing could be more satisfying! I even cheat occasionally and eat them during my long work shifts!