Sebastien Sasseville confesses before his run across Canada: I suck.

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

Sebastien Sasseville sucks.

Those aren’t my words by the way, they are 100 per cent his.

He’s talking about his natural athletic ability. Now I know what you’re thinking. Ultra-marathoner. First type 1 diabetic to reach the top of Mount Everest. Needs more than one hand to count the number of Ironman’s he’s done. Really?

But out of his own mouth, Sebastien admits that growing up, he was the furthest thing from a high school jock.

“I suck at sports. You know that kid who is always picked last in school?”

Yup. That was him. After being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 22, he decided he wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. So off he went, laces tied, ready to go.

“I didn’t get out of the parking lot. I ran 250 metres.”

I found hearing this comforting. Sometimes we see well-accomplished athletes as untouchable and their titles so out of reach. The tale of how he began is one that needs to be told and re-told. He started just like we all do. One foot in front of the other.

“People need to know, that stuff is done by people no different than them. Find the drive, make it big. Learn, take notes and never give up,” he says.

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

It’s that kind of attitude that will be accompanying Sebastien on his next conquest.

On February 2nd he will start Outrun Diabetes, a cross-country run from St. John’s to Vancouver. That’s 180 marathons in 9 months. The journey will end on November 14 on World Diabetes Day.

“The goal is to inspire, empower and educate. The message is very simple. Diabetes should never be a limitation. It’s a message of hope and I want people to realize there’s nothing they can’t do,” he says.

Sebastien may be the one pounding the pavement, but he insists the adventure is not his, but ours. Every single one of us.

“I want everybody in Canada to know that they own this project. It is their run. It’s not just Sebastien running, they can be a part of it. They can participate and be an agent of change in their communities. I’d love for this to become a huge collective project and see people be empowered by it.”

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

Photo by Genevieve Sasseville

In a way this has everything and nothing to do with diabetes. It’s about perseverance, resilience and hope. And Sebastien will need all of that.
“It’s extremely exciting, I’m very nervous. There’s a lot of things we cannot control from a medical perspective, physical perspective. Running 5 marathons a week for 9 months. Probably not a good idea.”
No, not a good idea, but a great one. We’ll all be watching, cheering and hopefully participating with you, one foot in front of the other.
Best of luck,
J
Follow Sebastien on his personal Twitter, Outrun Diabetes Twitter & Facebook
Fun facts about Sebastien and Outrun Diabetes
  • Sebastien’s favourite way to treat a low is with maple syrup
  • Outrun Diabetes will take Sebastien through Halifax, Moncton, Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Windsor, Toronto, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Edmonton and Calgary with events in each location plus other local communities
  • Sebastien will be using the new Animas Vibe pump
  • Sebastien estimates he’ll go through 15 pairs of running shoes during Outrun Diabetes
  • It took a year of planning to make Outrun Diabetes become a reality
  • A self-confessed foodie, Sebastien hopes his first meal post-event will be steak and a glass of wine

Other publications on Sebastien and Outrun Diabetes:

National Post: Six-Time Ironman and Type 1 Diabetes Athlete Sebastien Sasseville to Take on Solo 7500 km Run Across Canada

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