“People would ask me, ‘Did you do it for social media?’ I actually didn’t want to be on social media. It happened to be that I was convinced to share it and I’m glad I did that because it was more for people than myself now because I [already] proved to myself that I can do it. And I know I can do it. I want people to know that you can do anything you put your mind to. And I’m going to share all the stuff I go through: the injuries, the trials and tribulations. I share the good and the bad. Even when I share the bad, people will be like, ‘Why are you doing this? Stop!’ And my mindset about running is like life: When we go through tough times in life we don’t tap out, we don’t give up, we find a way, we fight through. It might be tough, we might cry, we might hurt, we might feel miserable, we might have this stomach feeling that we can’t sleep, but we don’t tap out. We find another day, right?”
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Hellah Sidibe is a former pro soccer player turned runner who strives to inspire and change lives through sharing his life experiences. Last year he became the first Black man to run across the United States, which he did in a quick 84 days, and he’s been running every day since May 15, 2017. His HellahGood YouTube channel has nearly 275 thousand subscribers, of which I am one of, and his energy and enthusiasm for running, life, and tackling big challenges is incredibly infectious.
In this conversation, I got to know Hellah a bit better and hear more about his story. He told me about coming to the U.S. from Mali as a kid and what it was like settling into his new country. Hellah told me about playing soccer throughout his life and how running, until just a few years ago, was something that he viewed as a form of punishment. He explained how making the commitment nearly five years ago to run 10 minutes a day for 2 weeks snowballed into something bigger than he could ever imagined, he told me about giving himself permission to quit if he’s just not enjoying it anymore, and how he’s used YouTube and social media to inspire others through his example and bring awareness to initiatives that are bigger than himself. We also talked about his relationship to pressure and how that’s changed over the years, why it’s important to be intentional with your running, and a lot more.
Hellah Sidibe: YouTube | Instagram | Strava
the morning shakeout: Instagram | Twitter
Mario Fraioli: Website | Strava
This episode is brought to you by:
— Tracksmith. Tracksmith is a brand for committed runners like you and me. They aim to celebrate, support and contribute to running’s distinct culture in everything that they do, from offering considered and original products for training, racing, and recovery, to creating experiences that make running more rewarding, more connected, and more meaningful. When you shop at tracksmith.com/mario and/or if you use the code Mario22 when you check out, you’ll get free shipping on your order and 5% of your purchase will go to the Tracksmith Foundation, a nonprofit that aims to give more people the opportunity to participate in Track & Field.
— the morning shakeout Patreon community: This is where superfans of the podcast and newsletter can support my work directly, interact with me, and also gain access to some exclusive content like The Weekly Rundown, a Patreon only podcast that I co-host with my friend Billy Yang, a monthly “Coaches Corner” discussion that will debut in 2022, and other fun perks that pop up from time to time. You can join for as little as a buck a week at themorningshakeout.com/support.
Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford.