This week, Kartus is interviewing Marie-Michelle Fortin. Marie-Michelle is an inspiring runner and ambassador, who brings joy to every event. She’s an accomplished a lot of great things, notably two Guinness records. Have a good read !
KARTUS : We know that your first contact with running was an important moment. Can you describe to me what you felt the first time you tried our adaptive running chair?
MARIE-MICHELLE : The first time I ran, I felt a deep sense of freedom. The first time I saw running was when I saw the « Cours Toujours » tv show. It was a real game-changer for me. Two years and a half later, I was competing in the Levis Oasis Half-Marathon, on may 6th 2018. I was finally there ! It was real ! You could feel electricity in the air. They were runners all around me. In that moment, I felt a great sense of freedom and lightness. It’s hard to imagine what it’s like until you’re in this moment. Running was a dream for me ; in that instant, it became a reality.
K: As an ambassador, you experienced many runs with Sébastien Roulier. Can you talk to me about your favorite moments ?
MM : Sébastien and me shared many runs together : the Levis Oasis Half-Marathon, the 2018 Montreal Marathon, and the 2019 Boston Marathon. It was with Sébastien that I ran for the first time in 2018. I was very excited ! I think I have a strong adaptability in life, so I trusted my partner completely. We hit the finish line in 1h 30 minutes, all smiles. The Montréal Marathon held a special place in my heart. My grandfather was a great runner : in his carrer,he completed the Marathon two times. I never knew my grandfather, but I like to think that I shared his passion for running. The 23th of september 2018, I was running the Montreal Marathon in his memory. A Radio-Canada film crew came to shoot the event.
A few moments before the start, it was just like my grandfather was there with me. When we were running, I was imagining him running alongside us. I think that Sébastien really saw my passion and my drive to run there. Maybe it’s just a feeling, but I really think that we shared the same energy in that run. We completed the 42.2 km in 3 hours and 1 minute !
Because of that historic time, we were qualified for Boston. One month before, we learned that our two Guinness Records were approved. You heard me right ! Not one, but two Guinness Records ! Sébastien wanted to surprise me.Marie-Michelle Fortin
He had also sent our application for the half-marathon. It was such a great honour to receive two Guinness Records at the same time, just a few days before my birthday ! Inspired by my story and this incredible adventure, Radio-Canada did a second documentary about our team.
[After that ] we prepared for Boston. At at fundraising dinner for the Sherbrooke Shared Runs, Sébastien did a lecture about his journey, his commitment to the craft and the shared runs we did. People there could hear the story of our incredible team !
April 15th, 2019, at the starting line. My Kartus had our custom wheel covers, designed specifically for the event. It was an amazing experience ! All trough the race, people cheered for us. We hit the finish line in 3 hours 17 minutes. I was so happy to have been a part of this !
K: How would you describe yourself as an ambassador ?
MM: Kartus enables me to run and to live my passion, my dream. I don’t consider myself a great ambassador : the things I gave Kartus don’t compare to everything I experienced with this chair. I can only offer my gratitude.
K: Your story is really inspiring. Finally, would you like to say something to our community ?
MM: Kartus is not a chair. It’s not a stroller. It’s not a bike. Yes, maybe I’m playing with words, but as someone who’s in a wheelchair most of the time, I’ve heard too many names to describe my wheelchair. As for calling it a bike, we don’t ride. We run. The Kartus is equipped with bike wheels, but it isn’t one. As for « stroller », I hate it : we are not babies. When I run, I dont « do some Kartus ». I run. When I run, I don’t feel different. I don’t feel my disability. I feel like everyone else. It may seem like a small thing, the use of some words, but I’ve waited too long before I was able to run. So I will use « run » whenever I want to ! And every time I run, my heart is full of joy and gratitude that Kartus enables me to do it.