World Record Attempt For Most People With T1D Racing A Half Marathon


This weekend was up there as one of the most memorable moments in my sporting career, because for the last few months I've been preparing to run a half marathon. That's right, you did read it correctly- a half marathon, something that I said I would never do. But this is the thing about the diabetes community, they mean so much and I so greatly want more people to see that sport is possible with the condition, that I took a sabbatical from sprinting in order to chase the World Record Attempt with 80 other type ones at the Swansea Half Marathon this weekend!


Me, Dai (Director of Diabetes UK Cymru) and my friend/ Dai's Son Sam


You can catch up on the nitty gritty details of how I prepared for my half marathon run in my previous blogs, but as an outline, I started with building my stamina up with longer-distance runs and utilised this time to see how my BG levels behaved and how much carbohydrate I needed to take on board over these types of distance. I practised doing physical blood glucose tests whist I ran without dropping any of my diabetes kit and considered my options for the way I would carry my supplies during the run. Therefore, when it came to race day this Sunday, everything was in place.



Some of the 1 Bloody Drop Running Squad


On the morning of the race I woke up with a glucose level of 7.0mmol, which I was pleased with. I drank plenty of fluids and had wholemeal toast and ripe bananas for breakfast- low GI foods that wouldn't spike my glucose levels too quickly but that would provide energy for the run. I filled my bladder pack with my 1L of a mixture of water and 100g carb solution, packed my waist belt with jelly babies, Gluco juice and my blood glucose testing kit. I wore my Libre device so as to capture the data for the EXTOD study and my Enlite sensor with all of the features that Smart Guard could provide, especially after the race and overnight.


Start Line Testing with Fellow T1s


Arriving in Swansea before the race, the runners all met under the Diabetes UK flag, before heading off into our pens and getting ready to race. I was really fortunate that there were loads of us in my group that were starting off together and it was awesome being in such great company as well all tested our pre-race glucose levels in our own ways. Before we knew it we were crossing the start line and almost immediately I found myself in sync with two other T1 runners who made for incredible running buddies, chatting and laughing together as they paced me to a quicker pace than I thought was in my reach.


T1 Sub-Team


The half marathon route took us from Swansea city centre and out to the Mumbles and back along the coast and I think that was when the heat of the day really began to take its toll. Up to km 12 or so, we were running along the road and enjoyed a little shaded coverage from the trees, but out on the coastal path we were completely exposed and at the mercy of the sun. My race plan was a 10% basal before and during the run and to test my BG levels every 5km, then to take on carbs early from my bladder pack and throughout the run. At km 5 my levels were 11.5mmol/l, at 10km they were 7.1mmol/l, at which point I reduced my basal to 5% and took on 25g of carbs with jelly babies. Unfortunately, the next part of the run coincided with running in the direct heat and my BG levels dropped again to 5.6mmol/l, which appeared to be a similar story amongst some other T1 runners and at this point I was at 14km with 7km still to go. Feeling at risk of going low and luckily stopping by the port-a-loos I took on another 35g of carbs, tested again after the loo and I was back up to 8.9mmol/l and feeling confident. At km 17, I was at 8.2mmol and then it was time for the final push towards home.




The event was very well organised in terms of water distribution and they had plenty of course volunteers to give out small bottles of water that were easier than the usual cups to rehydrate with along the course. I only managed to grab gels at about km 18, but it was really reassuring to replenish my stocks should I have needed them towards the end of the race. Then it was literally head down, music up and I dug deep to the finish line ,doing one of my fastest kilometres yet as I chased the end of the race down. Crossing the line was such an emotional experience as the meaning of what we were all doing and had achieved by running the race washed over me. It was about more than the medal (as nice as it is), it was about being part of something bigger than myself and going down in the record books with the community that I have been doing my best to work with and show, that having diabetes is no barrier to doing sport when planned well and done safely.



The Medal




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Meet The Author

My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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