Charles Philibert-Thiboutot continues to climb Canadian 1,500m record list in France

Charles Philibert-Thiboutot

The last eight days have been memorable for Canadian middle-distance runners Charles Philibert-Thiboutot. After eight years without a personal best in the 1,500m event, Philibert-Thiboutot has now achieved that in back-to-back races in France, clocking the second-fastest 1,500m time in Canadian history.

On Sunday, Philibert-Thiboutot again found himself in contention to win on the final lap of the 1,500m at Meeting Stanislas in Nancy, France. The 32-year-old put on a surge with 200 meters to go and held on for fourth place in 3:32.94. This is the first time he has gone under the 3:33 mark, setting a new Quebec provincial record.

Eight days earlier at On Track Nights in Montesson, France, Philibert-Thiboutot placed second in 3:33.52, surpassing his previous best of 3:34.23, Sep in 2015. Both performances have guaranteed him an automatic qualifying spot on Team Canada for the upcoming 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest this August.

Philibert-Thiboutot says he really hasn’t changed much with training and credits his success to getting into faster races. “I had shown this type of fitness last season, but the 1,500m is a 50 per cent opportunity,” he says. “I didn’t really get any chance to showcase anything last year, and this time around, I have been lucky enough to have two really good race setups.”

After a short stint in France, the Quebec native, who trains with his university coach, Felix-Antoine Lapointewill head to Montreal to compete at the Classique d’Athlétisme de Montréal on June 29 before he plans on challenging for a national title at the 2023 Canadian Track and Field Championships at the end of July.

Philibert-Thiboutot is confident he can run under 3:30 this summer, but he wants it to come at the right time. “It’s a long season, and I can’t be in top fitness for three months like some of the young guys on the Diamond League circuit,” says Philibert-Thiboutot. “It has to come at worlds in August, when it matters.”

Jakob Ingebrigtsen and Charles Philibert-Thiboutot
Canada’s Charles Philibert-Thiboutot chases Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen and world champion Jake Wightman in the men’s 1,500m at the 2022 World Athletics Championships in Eugene. Photo: Kevin Morris

His new personal best of 3:32.52 now stands as the second-fastest 1,500m time in Canadian history, surpassing Justyn Knight’s best of 3:33.41 from 2021. He now trails only Kevin Sullivanwho holds the Canadian record of 3:31.71, which has stood for 23 years.

Philibert-Thiboutot believes that, with how his training has been going, the best is yet to come. “My coach and I have limited the amount of 1,500m-specific training, so to be able to run 3:32 and feel good doing it—it’s extremely encouraging and gives me confidence,” he says.

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