Athlete Profile: The Dizzying Pace of Tim Gilbert

Triathletes are by definition busy people, but triathlete Tim Gilbert might be among the busiest. Founder and Managing Partner at Gilbert LLP, a firm devoted to Intellectual Property asset creation and protection, Tim is also heavily involved in community entrepreneurship and innovative design. He’s the Chair of the Advisory Board at Onsite Gallery, OCAD University’s public art Gallery system.  He is also a co-founder of Transform Community Group and Cafe a youth-focused community support network. (Check out their newly opened venue at Yonge and Manor!).

When this father of five is not running a soccer practice for his 6-year-old twins, visiting his eldest daughter at university, taking his middle daughter to university tours or taking care of his one-year-old, Tim manages to squeeze in training for an Ironman of which he’s now done four. To be sure he has enormous support from his wife Jocelyn Mackie, Co-CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, herself an equally inspiring (and busy!) go-getter, who was just named to Canada’s Top 40 under 40. Together they are the epitome of endurance and dynamism.


Team Atomica: How do you balance everything and still maintain focus in sport but also in your career and dynamic family life?

Tim Gilbert: I’m an experience junkie. I crave new experiences and, with a large family, a diverse firm and a wonderful life partner, there’s no shortage of new things to do.

Sport has always been one of those things that grounded me. I’m a tortoise out there (or water buffalo) and have never been a pro at anything, but the time I spend training always ends with me in a more peaceful, restful state feeling I can tackle the challenges at hand.


How has the sport of triathlon changed your perspective on active and engaged living?

TG: I came to triathlon late in life. I lost part of the muscle in one leg from surgery and started to gain weight.  I turned 50 and realized I had to keep up with new born twins.  I bought a bike, took lessons on how to swim and started running.  Competition gave me something to shoot for – a goal that meant I couldn’t fudge the workouts or would pay the price later.


Why do you prefer Ironman over the shorter events?

TG: Ironman seemed to be the ultimate experience. All I needed was for someone to say “you can’t do this” and I had all the motivation necessary.

When I tried my first one I met really wonderful people who all had an interesting story. Rather than feeling I was competing with other participants, I felt totally supported by the entire Ironman community.


What is the best advice you could offer someone new to the sport who is intimidated by the scope of Ironman?

TG: The announcer at Ironman events says it best: “Don’t quit, never give up”.  When the hills seem to go on forever, when your spirits seem to be flagging, realize that this is such a gift—that we are able to do something spectacular. Ignore the clock, slow down and enjoy the moment. They don’t come along like this every day.


Next up Tim will take on Ironman Mont Tremblant in August! Good luck Tim!