Earlier this year, Kartus had the chance to talk to Sébastien Roulier, an exceptional rider with several top performances to his name. Over time, Sébastien even became a Kartus ambassador. Good reading !
KARTUS: Tell us about your running background.
SÉBASTIEN ROULIER: I started running marathons in 2000 after a friend completed his. I realized that marathons weren't just for the elites. Quietly, I added more marathons each year to make up to 7 or 8 a year. To make the end of my marathons easier, I decided to run very long training runs, up to 70 km. That's when I decided to sign up for a trail run for my first 80 km ultramarathon. It was a revelation! The year 2012 brought a shift towards a calendar almost exclusively of trail races. I subsequently increased the distances over the years to complete several 160 km races, until my longest race to date, the Spartathlon, in 2018 (250 km). I had the privilege of representing my country in the World Trail Championships (2013, 2015, 2016), 100 km (2014) and 24h (2019). I have had several awards and honors in addition to winning several races among the 185 races completed to date.
K: Marie-Michelle Fortin seems to occupy an important place in your duo races. Can you tell us why?
SR: Marie-Michelle is a running partner with whom I democratized and popularized duet racing. Our first meeting was interesting. The Kartus team contacted me in April 2018 to ask if I wanted to be the runner for a co-runner who wanted to participate in the Lévis half-marathon. Without hesitation, I said "yes" even though I was running an 80 km trail in Vermont the day before. There are opportunities that must be seized. What a pleasure to offer the joy of racing. Despite her handicap, Marie-Michelle is always smiling and enjoys racing like any runner. This half-marathon provided a Guinness Record, but above all started a beautiful friendship. What I also remember is the gratitude of Marie-Michelle's parents. The simple act of running while pushing someone brings a positive wave for many people, me first. Duet races in organized races are not for all co-runners. Marie-Michelle was already interested in running before going through the Kartus experience. It's still amazing to witness this in someone who has never even walked. She sends us a very important message: when you have the opportunity to break down barriers, to go even further in life, you do it.
K: For you, how important is the link between runner and co-runner?
SR: As in any running club, you develop friendships and a bond over training and meetings. For the duo race, the link is also created over the kilometers. Whether you are in a race or during a recreational activity, it is a moment of sharing that you have to live fully. The race breaks down borders because in the end, we are all runners.
K: How was the Boston experience?
SR: It was exceptional. To use the terms used by an American who gifted Marie-Michelle a Marathon coat, it was the "marathon of kindness."
It applies very well to what I've been through. And although on the surface you might think that I am giving of myself and that Marie-Michelle benefits from my generosity, the label of giver and receiver is interchangeable here. Such an experience gives me a lot. And what a pleasure to run in Boston differently from the 12 other times! The delirious crowd encouraged us. 42 km of screams, smiles. We forget the pain in these moments. And seeing the smile on Marie-Michelle's parents' faces… It confirms that I must continue to offer Boston to other co-runners.