A Run Across Canada to Outrun Diabetes…now I have driven across Canada. I did it with two young children and my mother. It was amazing. The country of Canada is diverse and incredibly scenic. In car, we drove long hours and took a couple of weeks to make the journey
Sebastien Sasseville will take nine months and do it on foot. He is going to break the country down into a number of marathons and travel at least 200 km per week…on foot. He is not going to enjoy the view from a plane or even a car. He will be enjoying the view from the comfort of his running shoes. What a view it will be!
When I drove across Canada, many people thought I was crazy. It is an incredibly long drive. Heck, it’s a long plane ride! Driving however allowed us to truly see the beauty of each area. We ate meals in provincial parks and were able to spend time stopping to meet with family and friends along the way. It was an incredible experience for all of us. Now imagine running this same distance. The view will be that much more intense. The chance to interact with many more new people along the journey will be incredible but face it you still think its crazy! I don’t blame you.
I live in the most eastern city in North America. This means that many people come here to start epic runs much like Sebastien has. Sadly, with a few notable exceptions, most fade off into obscurity and never finish what they have started. I have no doubt that this will not be the fate of Mr. Sasseville. He has climbed Mt Everest. He ran 250km across the Sahara Desert. He has completed over seven Iron Man competitions all while living with diabetes. Running across Canada is just another challenge that he will meet.
It was with that knowledge that I layered up and headed to Signal Hill. Signal Hill offers a magnificent view of both the Atlantic Ocean and the city of St. John’s and surrounding areas. It is also cold, windy, and did I mention cold? I had on my long underwear, an extra shirt under my sweater and gloves that would work with my camera. I was going to have as much photo documentation of this event as I could.
As I drove up the hill, I wondered what I would see. Would there be a big crowd or would it be small? I had been asked to spread the word about this event and I had. There seemed to be a lot of interest but this was a particularly cold day. A storm was brewing, would people really show up?
A news vehicle merged onto the road behind me. There would at least be media coverage. As I parked, I saw clusters of people chatting and working to keep warm. I saw a few people who I knew. We said hello, talked about the weather, and of course what was about to happen. Everyone agreed, we were at the start of something amazing.
The energy level was high. There were many people of varying fitness levels and ages waiting to start the run. They would accompany Sebastien for at least the first mile. Sebastien was busy doing an interview when I first arrived but soon joined the crowd. There were pictures of the pilot truck. There were pictures with Sebastien. There were pictures of the group. Finally, he prepared to start.
The air no longer seemed cold. Sebastien thanked everyone for coming out. The grin on his face had not left. The incredible energy and hope on Signal Hill that day was tangible. It was the most incredible thing that I had ever been a part of. Together we began to count down to the start of this epic journey.
10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1…and they were off. A group of runners, walkers, younger and older, pumpers, people on needles and people without diabetes. It was powerful group. I continued to click and watch. There was the police escort, the front jogger, Sebastien and friends, followed by the pilot truck. As the entourage made its way down the hill, the chill returned and I headed back to my car. I had been part of history.