Devils Loop FKT belongs to vegan runner

Vegan triathlete Antoine Jolicoeur Desroches left his bike and wetsuit at home as he made history in the Quebec mountains.

The Canadian has previously qualified for the World Championships. As events have fallen victim to the Covid pandemic he’s turned his attention elsewhere.

Antoine ran La Boucle du Diable (The Devil’s Loop), a 48 km route which is mainly (but not all) on well maintained paths. He smashed the previous Fastest Known Time (FKT) of 5 hours 53 from last year. Antoine completed it in 4 hours 23.

“I’m happy with this FKT but I believe I can go much faster” he told Great Vegan Athletes. “The last 15 km were pretty hard and I had to dig deep both physically and mentally. It’s a lot harder to go to that dark place when you’re not racing. It’s a great opportunity to learn how to be stronger mentally so that when things don’t go your way in a race you can push through.”

New challenges

Established at Ironman triathlon distance, Antoine seems to be bitten by the FKT bug.

“It’s still not sure if there will be any Ironmans in Canada this year or if I’ll be able to travel to the USA this summer so FKTs (fastest known time) are a great way to challenge yourself.”

He’s also training for a 125 km trail race in September.

“There’s a few FKTs between 50 and 70 km that I might do as a race preparation this summer. That will help me to stay motivated and to continue to train hard during the pandemic.”

Testing strategies

Antoine started the race with around 2.5 – 3 litres of water.

“When you do an unsupported FKT you need to consider the positives and negatives of bringing more food and liquid” he says. “Sometimes, it’s a good strategy when the distance is relatively short to bring slightly less liquid than you really need so that you can me lighter and therefore run faster but you need to consider the fact that if you lose too much water you might slow down at the end.”

He’s now reflecting that filling up from a stream may have worked well.

“I tried to see if I can eat more solid foods such as a Clif bar because I thought that might be good to eat some solid food for my 125 km race instead of only eating gels. However, I only ate about 1/4 of the Clif bar and mostly just ate gels and apple sauce. For my next long trail run I’ll bring only foods that are easy to eat. Gels, apple sauce, Clif block shots and some candies and I’ll try to see if I can stomach foods with salts such as pretzels and chips.”

While this proves that even athletes of Antoine’s standards are still learning, it also shows the benefits of adapting. We look forward to hearing about new challenges as he taken them on.

Antoine’s profile

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