Sherbrooke pediatrician to celebrate Thanksgiving with gruelling 422 km, 3-day ultra-marathon

A runner is seen in this stock photo. (Andrea Piacquadio/Pexels)

A world-class ultra-marathoner from Sherbrooke is preparing to run a gruelling race on Thanksgiving that is the equivalent of 10 marathons spread over three days.

On Friday, pediatrician Sebastien Roulier will strap on his sneakers to begin a 422-kilometre trek through the Eastern Townships that he plans to complete by Monday afternoon.

The race, which Roulier is calling 'Avancons tous en coeur' will crisscross the region by following a course whose layout forms a giant heart. The doctor's objective is to raise money for the Moisson Estrie food bank and encourage Quebecers to exercise.

Roulier admitted he's entering “uncharted waters” and added the run “will hurt.” But the 46-year-old said he's focusing on the positive moments he'll experience.

“Running for me is resilience training,” he said. “It's a metaphor for life, the ups and downs.”

He added he hopes Quebecers will come out to encourage him by running and cycling alongside him, but they should still respect orange zone public health directives by staying two metres apart and limiting gatherings to 25 people.

Roulier said he plans to sleep a few hours each night to avoid exhausting. During a run which saw him travel 300 kilometres in 50 hours last spring, he slept just two hours per night.

“It will probably be three hours this time,” he said.

The doctor also plans to fuel up by eating nutritional bars, fruits and couscous. Oatmeal will be on the menu in the mornings, while for lunch he plans on “making the rounds... to eat poutine,” though he admitted he will try to avoid overly fatty ones.

Supper will consist of dehydrated meals, while Roulier will also drink plenty of water, sports drinks and smoothies.

Roulier has completed 58 marathons and over 40 ultra-marathons and held several Guiness World Records that were later broken, including fastest half marathon and full marathon while pushing a disabled person.

The first day of his upcoming trip will see him go from Sherbrooke to Asbestos and then descend to Scotstown, where he will sleep. The next morning he will head towards Lac-Megantic, where he will tour the lake and return via Woburn, Chartierville before stopping in St-Mathias-de-Bonneterre.

On the third day, Roulier will go to Coaticook, Ayer's Cliff, Magog and Orford. Finally, on Monday, he will cross Mont-Orford National Park before coming to a stop in downtown Sherbrooke.  

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