Running from one side to the other of the Cape Verde islands while collecting more than a ton of waste in 15 days…it takes a lot of energy to achieve such a challenge. And energy is exactly what defines professional trail runner Thibaud Baronian. An avid sportsman, committed, passionate (and a great guy!) – meet the famous instigator of the Trail & Sea adventure, who gives us a glimpse of what drives him in life and in all the actions he leads in favour of the environment.
A threefold project: sport, solidarity, environment
At the end of 2021, with the Trail & Sea project, Thibaud Baronian decided to take on the beaches and summits of Cape Verde alongside a team of 10 committed people. 8 islands, 8 summits, 400 km, 18,000 metres climbed, this adventure was designed as a real sporting challenge. But it was also way more than that. This project was above all about an environmental and human adventure, carried out in collaboration with local environmental protection organisations.
The runner set out with a clear objective: to raise awareness among the general public and the local population about the impact of the plastic pollution that is devastating the beaches of Cape Verde.
Cape Verde and its population: Thibaud’s favorite
Thibaud and Cape Verde? It’s a sort of love story: “My first trip to Cape Verde took place in April 2018. I fell in love with this country, its inhabitants, its “sodade“…After that, I was determined to go back and to do something out of the ordinary, shared with the locals.” For this professional trail runner, member of the Salomon International team, this something necessarily had to involve a lot of sweat and kilometres!
Sport and nature, the ingredients for a happy life
Cradled by sport
Thibaud is 33 years old. Since he was a child, sport has been his life, he tells us: “I come from a sporty and dynamic family. I’ve been immersed in sport since I was very young: football, table tennis, then high-level cross-country skiing and, finally, trail running.” An eclectic and distinguished sportsman, certainly, but who also worked as a physiotherapist for 5 years before dedicating himself entirely to his professional athletic career since 2018.
Nurtured by nature
Beyond sport, his family has also played a major role in shaping his respect for nature and animals: “I’ve always lived in the countryside and my parents made me aware of the importance of nature. My father is a great fan of vegetable gardening. We’ve always had home-grown food in our house, almost all year round. Being close to the earth makes us connect with it and instinctively protect it. “
Thibaud is fascinated by the wild and its animals, a field in which he can imagine launching himself for a third professional life (yes, we told you: LOTS of energy!).
Thibaud explores and reinforces this special connection to nature through his job as a trailer, which reminds him every day how precious it is.
Human relations, the salt of life!
Sport and nature… the Trail & Sea adventure appeared to be an obvious choice for Thibaud. This is not to say that it has been easy on his body!
Running, collecting waste, running, cleaning beaches, running, filling bags… The expedition included a lot of stretching beyond the limits. During the day…and at night, too: “There were a lot of emotions and discoveries when sailing on the boat from island to island, in the middle of the Atlantic! Sleeping in a bed that bumps on both sides was a memorable moment of the journey for the whole team. The nights were hectic and not very restful,” recalls Thibaud.
But there was always the pleasure of shared adventure and human encounters round the corner to pump up the energy levels: “The welcome of the Cape Verdeans children in the schools we visited to raise awareness was just incredible. It was really heart-melting to see so many smiles and joy in their eyes.”
And indeed, when asked about his main purpose in life, Thibaud answers, quite simply: “To be and to make people happy with as much simplicity and sobriety as possible“. 💚
This article will therefore go without any conclusion… All has been said, right?!
 A characteristic Cape Verdean state of mind from Portugal that has not been translated into other languages: emotions between joy and melancholy.