Type 1 Diabetes Pushes Ultrarunner to Succeed

Ultrarunner Sebastien Sasseville, who has Type 1 diabetes, was once that kid who was last picked for teams. It is hard to imagine today, as Sebastien is a role model for anyone wanting to compete in sports, and for the Type 1 community as a whole. As an extreme endurance athlete from Quebec City, Sebastien, 36, balances his profession as a speaker and diabetes advocate with impressive physical feats. I recently listened to him speak about his experiences, and as a father of a child with Type 1, I came away inspired.

Sebastien — his friends call him “Seb” — says he’s in some ways thankful for his Type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed at the age of 22. In the past 14 years, diabetes has pushed him in some spectacular ways, including to run across Canada, to compete in an ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert, and to climb Mt. Everest.

Seb’s recent run across Canada strained physical capacity. Some days, as he awoke to yet another cold, rainy morning, he would look out at the bleak, gray skies, mentally preparing for the 26.2 miles ahead of him. The run across Canada required something short of superhuman determination; Sebastien says he knows he must approach each day of such a journey with humility, sound judgment, a positive frame of mind, and a healthy nutrition plan.

The competition for him always comes from within. After his diagnosis, Sebastien needed to address his fear of how diabetes could limit his growth before he’d be able to truly confront his physical quests. He reminds us to understand that transcending diabetes and living a full and purposeful life starts on the inside.

To follow Sebastien’s journeys, go to

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Andrew Deutscher is a speaker for The Energy Project and author of typecast: Amazing People Overcoming the Chronic Disease of Type 1 Diabetes, inspired by his youngest boy who was diagnosed with the disease at the age of 2. His experience speaking on the topic of sustainable high performance in major corporations worldwide has enabled him to frame diabetes care in an empowering way.

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