Sebastien Sasseville is a six-time Iron Man triathlete who hopes to become the first person with diabetes to run across Canada in an effort to increase awareness about the disease.
"The message is to inspire people to live their life to the fullest. Give them inspiration to follow their dreams and to make it very obvious that obstacles can be overcome with a lot of work," he tells The Compass.
The 34-year-old Quebec City native joins a growing list of Canadians who have run, biked, walked and rollerbladed from coast to coast to raise awareness and money for various charities and health causes.
Sasseville started his feat this past weekend in St. John's surrounded by about 25 supporters. He plans to makes stops in major cities along the way, eventually concluding his run about nine months later on World Diabetes Day (Nov. 14, 2014) in Vancouver.
"There is a lot of love and support and a very good vibe so I could not be more pleased," he tells CBC before his run.
Sasseville was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes when he was 22. Following his diagnosis he began focusing intensely on his health, becoming a world-class athlete who has climbed Mount Everest and even run across the Sahara Desert.
"It's something that's pushed me to challenge myself. It's forced me to become healthier and more active. So in a way it has been a blessing," he tells The Compass.
Sasseville has an ambitious plan to run an average of 200 kilometres every week -- the equivalent of about five marathons. His nine month journey should cover about 180 marathons in total!
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Thankfully, someone will be driving a towing camper behind him for safety and supplies.
"If you thought driving across the country was long, try it at 10 kilometres per hour," he jokes.
Sasseville is one of many Canadians who have ventured across the country for a health cause, and as Maclean's notes, it is becoming increasingly harder for these athletes to get noticed simply because there are so many of them.
It is a Terry Fox-inspired trend that will hopefully continue one step, leap or stride at a time.