The photos you see are of the same person, Jacques Aubin, a well liked and above all, determined Canadian runner. Six years ago Jacques was a 200 kg "soft obese"; today he is a tough 80 kg athlete.
He pulverized the extra 120 kg by returning to balanced nutrition and physical activity.
His only partners in this adventure with a happy ending were a nutritionist and a trainer; no doctor, much less a surgeon. In addition, he had crucial family support, in particular that of his young daughter Alexandra, a skilled gymnast and her father's muse.
"Until the age of 30 I was always involved in sports," recalls Jacques. "When I gave up sports, like many other people I immediately let myself go, increasingly attracted to food and my couch. After a few short years I weighed 200 kg, putting at risk not only my social relations but also my health. I had significantly shortened my life expectancy, consequently forsaking everything I had built, as well as my family."
The turning point came in the Fall of 2009, when he saw the joy in the eyes of his daughter as she finished one of the side races of the Montreal Marathon. “It was like a bolt of lightning, an emotional shock at seeing her so fit and so happy.”
It takes more than good motivation to make certain decisions. It also takes character, determination, courage and willingness to sacrifice. But luckily, Jacques possessed all of that. He promised his daughter that the following year he, too, would run the 5 km reserved for rookies at the Montreal Marathon. Needless to say, that's what he did.
Fortunately, obesity had not yet damaged his cardiovascular abilities. He checked his extreme weight for the last time on a warehouse scale, then met with a nutrition specialist and a sports trainer, both of whom accepted the assignment but, quite frankly, without high expectations. In fact, they feared that Jacques would give up before reaching his goal, as typically happens in many cases of extreme obesity. The nutritionist and the trainer were the first people to be astounded by the final result.
"At the beginning I set a very low bar, doing just minimum exercise, walking around the house from one lamp to another. Then I began walking outdoors at four in the morning, and then I got on a stationary bike...."
It was the beginning of a long, exhausting, satisfying ...and very fast-paced journey. Because the following year Jacques not only took part in the race he had promised his daughter, but he also participated in a dozen more small races. The number of races in which he participated grew exponentially, in 2011 reaching 48 races of varying lengths, covering a total of 3,500 kilometers. Since then, gradually losing more weight and increasing his fitness, Jacques has never stopped and has even added a few Iron Man competitions to his list of achievements.
Over time, health, sports and proper nutrition went from being a necessity to becoming a passion, to finally evolving into a mission. Today, Jacques, who is a certified marathon trainer, has also assumed the important role of motivational speaker and holds conferences in the Quebec area, where there are about one million obese individuals. He tells his story, talks about his fears and his victories; above all, Jacques presents himself as an example of someone who has made it without the need for expensive or complicated procedures, but only through willpower and constant application, and by never giving up.
The same willpower and constant application that Jacques found in those who participate in the Tor del Géants®, considered “the” race of his life.
Adhering to the notion of doing things gradually and progressively, the Canadian runner has not been consumed by sudden enthusiasm, but rather by determination. Therefore, mindful not only of the excitement of the Aosta Valley competition but also of its difficulties, Jacques has already registered for the 2018 edition. Meanwhile, however, his enthusiasm is such that he has now become to all effects the Ambassador of the Tor del Géants®. In his 2016 lecture series (conferences have already started, approximately 120 are planned), Jacques Aubin tells his attentive audience about the magic and the difficulty of our race, the training needed to prepare for it, the professionalism behind its organization, and especially the places seen along its itinerary. Thanks to Jacques, the Tor and Valle d'Aosta have already found new friends and new supporters, and many more will follow. Although far away, in his role as ambassador Jacques is an important part of the great Tor team. Because Jacques is a regular guy who does extraordinary things.