How running changed advisor's life

After shedding 60 pounds and forging a more mindful mindset, Rob Tetrault now aims to traverse Manitoba in 12 days

How running changed advisor's life

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Rob Tetrault, a senior portfolio manager from Winnipeg, gets results when he puts his mind to it.

While others may have been wondering what to do during the pandemic, he dropped 60 pounds while walking, took up running, and the completed his first ironman competition this year. Now, he’s planning to run 24 half-marathons to cross Manitoba in 12 days next May as a fundraiser to save babies.

“One of my deep goals, way down, is to run across Canada someday, but I can’t do that now. I have four kids, and it’s a bit of a commitment,” Tetrault, who is also the branch manager for Tetrault Wealth Advisory Group with CG (Canaccord Genuity) Wealth Management, told Wealth Professional.

“But, I can certainly run across Manitoba over 12 days, so I’m going to do that. And, who knows? Maybe next year, I’ll run across Saskatchewan or Alberta or B.C.”

Tetrault’s running journey began when his dad, who was his mentor and work colleague, was diagnosed with cancer in March 2021. Rob weighed 250 pounds after being a university athlete. The diagnosis scared him because he thought his dad was dying – and he almost did – so Rob started walking. He liked the mental clarity it provided, so he started intermittently jogging.

“I jogged whatever I could because I was not in good shape,” he said. “I kept doing it because it was really good for my mental health. It was a very stressful time because of the chemo, and I was deeply involved with that.”

By June, he and his wife were running five kilometres a day and matching donations to the Canadian CMV Foundation, a national charity dedicated to eradicating this cause of infant disability. They founded it a decade ago because their son was born with a condition that Manitoba, unlike Ontario, doesn’t test for, even though it could aid the children. 

Those runs felt so good, that he trained for and ran the Manitoba Marathon in 4:48 last September. 

“I was getting skinnier and skinnier, and my dad was getting healthier and healthier, so everything just felt great,” said Tetrault.

He then bumped into his brother, whom he hadn’t seen much during the pandemic. He’d also started running, and lost weight, but signed up to do a Tucson, Arizona marathon in December. So, Tetrault joined him. He ran 3:58 this time, then felt let down because he didn’t have another goal.

“On the plane back, I remember looking at my brother and saying, ‘now what?’ And he said to me, ‘you should do an ironman’', even though I was still quite a bit overweight.

“So, I thought, ‘I’m closer than I was six months ago’. I was training hard and I’m incredibly disciplined. So, I decided in that moment, that I was going to do it.”

He hired a coach and was soon training up to 22 hours a week. In April, he ran a 3:23 marathon with his brother in Vegas, and then ran a 2:56 in a Los Angeles marathon in November. That qualified him for the Boston and New York marathons, but he first ran the ironman – biking, swimming, and running - in intense heat in Des Moines, Iowa in June. One-third didn’t finish, but he clocked in at 14:48, starting before sunrise and finishing soon after.

“The ironman was pretty special. It was the most spectacular day. I’ll never forget it,” said Tetrault. “Nobody can ever take that away from me. I sacrificed what I needed to reach this goal.”

The process has changed his life because he’s had to learn about nutrition and hydration, and change how he lived – foregoing Friday night beers with his buddies to run 20K the next day. 

But, he’s also learned what he can and cannot control – like he couldn’t control his dad’s cancer.

“Once I understood that, I started applying it to the rest of my life,” said Tetrault. “I can’t control what the stock market’s going to do. I can’t control what my clients are going to do. But, I can certainly focus on what I can control, which is asset allocation and proper financial planning for clients, which is giving the absolute best advice based on the best research and best preparation at all times. If I just focus on that, it takes away all the uncertainty about our careers.

“Focusing on what I can control has dramatically changed my business. It’s impacted my staff, my marriage, my relationship with my family, and my relationship with my kids. I quit drinking. There are so many things that have changed in my life as a result of this, and I’m thankful that I found this.”

Tetrault is planning to run more marathons and another ironman next year, but his next goal is to ask friends, family, clients, and colleagues to join him for half-day marathons to cross Manitoba and raise more money for his foundation – then convince the Manitoba government to test babies.

“We’re going to raise a ton of awareness and we’re going to the government to pass universal screening protocols for all newborn babies in Manitoba,” said Tetrault. So, after changing his life, he said, “I’m going to save lives.”