Unknown on the Quebec running scene just a week ago, Simon Leblanc will not soon be forgotten.
The runner from Saint-Prosper, Que., made a name for himself after participating in two marathons in the span of a week, finishing with gold and silver medals.
On September 24, Leblanc placed second at the Beneva Montreal Marathon, Quebec’s largest foot race, which drew nearly 20,000 runners, and then took home gold at the Beneva Quebec Marathon just seven days later.
“The excitement of Montreal took me to Quebec City,” the 32-year-old athlete said with a smile after completing the 42.2-kilometer race on Sunday in two hours, 27 minutes and 57 seconds, almost four minutes faster than its closest competitor. .
Leblanc, who works as a hotel valet in Quebec City, had not planned to run two marathons in a row. He said he was convinced to join the Quebec City race at the last minute.
“The organization had invited me. They called me on Friday and I deliberately didn’t respond. I received an email and said to myself: ‘Look, I’m in Quebec City, in the worst case it will be training for the future.'” said Leblanc.
He said that at kilometer 35 of the second race, his legs began to give out.
“Two marathons without even seven days of rest is too much,” he said.
But then he imagined running through the sign at the finish line, “and that’s what happened.”
More than 10,000 runners participated in the various events held on Saturday and Sunday in the streets of Quebec City.
From triathlete to marathoner
A top-level long-distance triathlete, Leblanc has always been a runner. But it was not until this summer when he decided to focus his training exclusively on running, without a coach or physical trainer.
Last week he changed the trajectory of his athletic career by completing the Montreal Marathon in two hours, 23 minutes and 52 seconds.
“That’s when I discovered it. It’s not a name I knew before,” Marianne Pelchat, executive producer of Je Cours Qc, which organizes the Quebec City Marathon, said Sunday.
Leblanc is now considering dedicating himself fully to running. This week he met with French sports equipment manufacturer Salomon and contacted Félix-Antoine Lapointe, renowned coach of Quebec City middle-distance runner Charles Philibert-Thiboutot.
“He is a leading figure in the world of athletics and I would be honored to train with him,” Leblanc said.
“My goal is to really push the limits and encourage people to participate in a race, whether it’s five, 10, 21 or 100 miles.”