'Running to beat death' Brussels terror attack victim set for marathon

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By Damon Embling
Brussels attack victim runs in marathon
Brussels attack victim runs in marathon   -  Copyright  Pixabay

Former professional basketball player Sebastien Bellin, badly injured in the Brussels airport terror attacks of 2016, is in final training for this month's Brussels marathon.

The 40-year-old, who lost part of his left leg and almost all of the feeling in it, is setting his sights on achieving the "milestone" race on 28 October.

He recalled to Euronews the "hell" he was caught up in at Brussels airport when he was heading off on a business trip to New York.

“I remember getting my boarding pass, the first bomb going off behind me, and as soon as I felt it, I realised what was happening," he told correspondent Damon Embling.

"You know, the ceilings were falling, there was glass everywhere, screams, and as I was running I remember the second bomb going off. You know, dead people around you, and sheer hell.”

Sebastien is now on the sidelines of basketball, as general manager of Belgium’s Spirou Charleroi team. He is training for the marathon at their base in Charleroi.

“One of the things that very early on I promised myself was that I would find a way to walk again. You don’t overcome these injuries just by the click of a finger. And being able to run on one leg is for me the challenge… that I fix myself to overcome, and that helps me to put what I went through into the past," he said.

Sebastien’s already completed shorter races in Antwerp and Brussels, but the marathon will be the toughest test yet for him, both mentally and physically.

“I don’t want those memories, I don’t want those images to catch up and so I am really running to beat death," he said.

"Life gave me a second chance. Not a lot of people can second chances in life, well I got one.”

Sebastien’s wife and two daughters will be in Brussels on 28 October to cheer him over the finish line.