Some of the stories behind a few of Gavin’s main adventures…
DiAthlete Ghana Tour
12th – 20th October 2015
13th Oct: Football Match, Tema
14th Oct: School Talk, Accra
15th Oct: Accra Half Marathon, Tema to Labadi Beach, Afi Afrikaan Beach Hotel
17h Oct: DiAthlete Education Programme with Diabetes Youth Care group, Cape Coast
mHealth Grand Tour 2015
Cycling 1500km from Brussels to Geneva
Having never endured more than 100 miles of cycling before, a 2 day challenge in Somerset, UK, in 2013, Gavin faced an uphill challenge (quite literally) in getting on a bike to ride from Brussels to Geneva in the mHealth Grand Tour 2015. Gavin was taking part as a member of Team GSMA and the mission was to ride the ‘Epic’ of all 3 stages throughout the Tour, riding via Paris and the Alps. The mHealth Grand Tour was powered by Orange Healthcare and supported by Dexcom, who were conducting a diabetes and sports health experiment, with records on the type 1 diabetic rider’s daily measurements, weight, diet and blood glucose monitoring throughout the challenge.
Stage 1: Brussels to Paris
Day 1: Brussels to Cambrai
Day 2: Cambrai to Reims
Day 3: Reims to Paris
Rest Day in Paris:
Stage 2: Paris to Belfort
Day 4: Paris to Troyes
Day 5: Troyes to Langres
Day 6: Langres to Belfort
Stage 3: Belfort to Geneva
Day 7: Belfort to Yverdon
Day 9: Morzine to Geneva
A few weeks ago I heard from IDF Europe, who wanted to have an IDF Young Leader in Diabetes represent them by cycling this challenge called the mHealth Grand Tour. Although I’m active in endurance challenges, running is my sport! I’ve never been into cycling – when I was 10 I was deemed unsafe for riding on the roads, after failing a school road safety cycling course!
With little time to prepare I considered the challenge, which entailed over 100 miles of cycling a day for 9 days across Europe, from Brussels to Geneva via Paris, and decided yeah I’ll give it a go…
When I arrived in Brussels I didn’t know what to expect. Due to work commitments and all the Diathlete work I’m putting in, I literally got 2 days experience on a road bike for the first time the week before the challenge. I saw all these guys registering for the race, with pro cycling wear on and I thought… I could be in trouble here.
One thing I knew I had was stamina, plus valued education of my own body in managing my diabetes in repeated days of endurance. But cycling is a different sport to my comfort zone, using different muscles. To do over 100 miles in a day was more than I’d ever cycled before, to do it repeatedly seemed an almost impossible task for a guy laughed at for turning up in running wear. But impossible is I’m Possible, right?
After finding my way on the bike with some very long days out there, I began to improve a bit. I aimed to start early, get out there before the experienced guys, and endure the whole days to finish on time. Often I found myself out on the bike for 10 hours, my longest day was 12 hours of riding.
My diabetes control was strong during the first of the 3 stages of the tour. I had adjusted my insulin to a level I believed suited to the endurance I faced, which proved key to begin. My previous running experiences were put to good use. However, around halfway through the Tour I made mistakes really, I didn’t realise we had a fridge for the insulin to be stored and always carried it with me in my backpack. I believe the insulin went bad, not completely out of it but it was clear it wasn’t working sharply. This led to a lot of sleepless nights as my levels tended to shoot up higher than the mountains I was climbing, as I finished exercise in be evenings and through the nights. I would even go as far to say that it was possible that if I had not have been out there with all day aerobic endurance to lower levels, I probably could have found myself in serious DKA. With a Dexcom and self awareness though I was at least able to keep monitoring it – again though, with a lack of sleep.
Throughout I was further taking part in an experiment too, monitoring everything from my weight to heart rate. Orange Healthcare are now reviewing the results!
Climbing the Alps on a bike was mentally challenging. For me, as someone who isn’t a cyclist, it took time and I’d often see other riders wizz by me, which mentally is even tougher. But the key part was to just keep pedalling away, it was at times challenging on the legs but I had the power. With every bend you hope you’re soon going to make the top of the mountain and only find it only gets steeper to climb. Despite that challenge, reaching the top of each mountain col was definitely the most rewarding feeling. To look at the distance, the altitude and think I done that, it was motivation for the next one! And the feeling to fly down the mountains was absolutely amazing, topped with incredible views.
My 12 hour day I felt I had won the respect of my fellow cyclists over. The route was pretty brutal with 4 mountainous climbs and the finale of it entailed a 15% climb, which was pretty horrid! Early in the day I heard some sad news that my little friend from Minneapolis, Super Gavin, who id met after running 7 marathons in the States last year, had passed away. He was the happiest, cheerful little boy I’ve ever seen and was bravely battling Leukodystrophy. The latest we were meant to finish by was 7.30pm to make dinner. But when the van came to get me, as I was far behind, I refused as I had to make that last climb for him. I got to the hotel after 8pm and went straight to dinner feeling run down and battered, but I had made the climb. And everyone gave a loud applause as I walked in. I just broke down in tears.
Whilst the group had all levels of cyclists, there were 24 with type 1 diabetes and around 10 who did the full tour. We grew as a group and it was also clear to see, as always – as the Young Leaders show – we are stronger together.
USA TOUR 2014!
New York City, Long Island, Minneapolis, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco!
Supporting Marjorie’s Fund
September 5th – October 7th 2014…
Sponsored by DEXCOM
|5th / 6th September 2014||New York City, New York|
|7th – 13th September 2014||Manhattan Marathons Challenge, Long Island, New York|
|14th – 18th September 2014||Minneapolis, Minnesota|
|19th – 25th September 2014||Miami, Florida|
|26th – 30th September 2014||San Diego, California|
|1st – 5th October 2014||San Francisco, California|
|6th – 7th October 2014||New York City, New York|
September 6th: Marjorie’s Fund and Hypoglycemia Awareness Live Event!
7pm – 9pm at The Cure Thrift Shop, 111 East 12th Street, New York, New York 10003
It was a great evening to Kick Off the Tour and Challenge of running 7 marathons in 7 days. I enjoyed hearing all the speakers, Dr Jason Baker is exceptional and a great role model (and adviser) for any type 1 as an Endocrinologist with type 1 diabetes himself! And his work for Marjorie’s Fund is phenomenal. It was great to have Zoe Heineman share her story on her NYC Marathon success – bringing the medal along too! And sharing her work to start Hypoglycemia Awareness (HA!) off for the month of September. Lauren Antonucci owns Nutrition Energy and it was really interesting and reassuring for me to hear her agreeing with my methods and putting the scientific facts into context – showing my ways of control during exercise are effective guidelines for others and myself! And I got to share my Diathlete story too.
September 7th – 13th: The Manhattan Marathons Challenge!
Good progress along a very long route, which after the wonders of New York City, leaving from The Cure Thrift Shop, and the brilliant experience of crossing the Williamsberg Bridge with my Marjorie’s Fund support team alongside, I found myself from there pushing forward along some run-down areas. And eventually a wrong turn saw me on Howard Beach, which was interesting to see. It turned out to be a little bit of a frustrating day but Team Marjorie’s Fund were on hand to support me! Entering Sunrise Highway, where I’d remain for the next few days running…
Straight forward – literally. One very long road! It was the first day running with a large backpack with me, which took some adjusting too and lowered blood sugar levels more rapidly. Should have trained more for that! But I was delighted to maintain a suitable pace, saving energy and yet progressing forward with the bag.
Started early as the area Bay Shore was very rough and I wanted to get out of there! No breakfast and as it turned out, no shorts on! I had been in such a rush to get going, I wrapped my Union Jack around my boxer-shorts and checked out, without knowing! It got a bit breezy… I was delighted to finally (eventually) leave Sunrise Highway and the South of Long Island.
Kicked butt today! Was helped as another runner was setting a good pace ahead of me for a very long chunk of it, northbound. My competitive nature made me want to keep up with her, so I kept on her tracks more or less, which was good going considering I had already covered three marathons and was wearing my backpack! Finished earlier than planned and enjoyed Port Jefferson with a good meal!
Long and lonely road. A little hilly and sometimes dangerous coming onto Northern Blvd. It was a very long day which had me aching a bit, the blood sugars remained very stable though – so I was happy about that! Getting through it and putting feet up was highly valued! Centerport was quite impressive to see where I was staying and grateful to Nick from Dexcom who took me out for a meal there.
Another tough route along more or less one never-ending road, Northern Blvd. Saw a Racoon… I actually enjoyed it in parts as it was very scenic along the way. Tough going though, with the bag and the hills, also made the mistake of no t-shirt, as Nick took my dirty clothes to the next point and I threw that top in by mistake! So I ran in the heat wearing the Diathlete jacket, sweated quite a bit more than normal! Enjoyed a good lunch at Roslyn, before making it into Bayside.
Final Marathon! Went through Queens where eventually I got a view of the City – this picked up moral! Made a terrible mistake – injected too much background (basal) insulin in the morning – just naturally doing my normal amount without thinking! (Again lack of sleep as I kept waking up in the night). I soon crashed hypo after making a really good paced start. I then pushed on to Brooklyn and crossed the Brooklyn Bridge, where the rain came down heavy. Great views again though! I headed to West Manhattan before looping round, in even worse rain, to head East to my finishing point and meeting Team Marjorie’s Fund and Dr Baker, who joined me to finish the challenge with a sprint.
September 15th: JDRF MinnDakotas Talk!
From 6.30pm at 3001 Metro Drive, Suite 100, Bloomington, MN 55425
September 16th: Minneapolis Cycle Challenge
September 16th: Type 1 Dinner!
September 21st: Fundraiser in the Park, Miami
Miami Dolphins Game!
September 25th: Diabetes Research Institute Tour, Miami
10.30am – 12.30pm touring the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) where they aim to restore natural insulin production to find a cure.
September 28th: San Diego Coast Run! 29th: DEXCOM Seminar!
October 4th: San Francisco Hike
San Francisco Support Team:
About Marjorie’s Fund
Marjorie’s Fund was founded by Dr Jason Baker, who also lives with type 1 diabetes himself. It was inspired by the spirit of Marjorie Namayanja who was an ardent advocate for better healthcare and education for people with type 1 diabetes living in Uganda. After a brave fight for many years with a lack of crucial resources such as insulin supplies, Marjorie sadly passed away, but her fight for type 1 diabetes in resource poor locations lives on in this charity.
The mission of Marjorie’s Fund is to empower adolescents and adults living with type 1 diabetes in areas of the world which lack the resources, to not only survive their diagnosis but to effectively control their diabetes and thrive into adulthood. Marjorie’s Fund aids this through providing education towards control of type 1 diabetes, helping to prevent further health complications, by assisting with access to key resources such as testing meters and insulin in many areas that need the support the most and by supporting research.
Diathlete Down Under Tour
From 26th November – 17th December 2013 the Diathlete Down Under Tour took place in Melbourne and Adelaide with a series of events supporting type 1 diabetes.
Support from the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders!
THE TOUR VIDEO!
I became a Young Leader advocate in Diabetes for the International Diabetes Federation, representing the UK as one of 73 different countries, with over 120 members on the YLD Programme. Each member has come together to improve care, awareness and lifestyles for young adults living with diabetes around the world. It was incredible to be a part of this, leaders from all kinds of backgrounds and cultures united by diabetes and making a difference – we all got on like a house on fire! The training programme took place over 4 busy days from 28th November – 1st December, with a number of great activities and speakers involved in our sessions.
On 30th November I appeared on the Type One Tonight show hosted by Jason Triggs at the South Melbourne Community Center. The show was all related to type 1 diabetes with a live studio audience viewing as the guests were interviewed by Jason on the sofa.
From 2nd – 6th December the World Diabetes Congress 2013 took place in Melbourne, which was an incredible experience with a massive exhibition center and many detailed speakers sessions. For the opening ceremony the YLD paraded the stage!
I arrived in Adelaide on 7th December and on the morning of the 8th I was racing in a 5km Christmas Caper event with the South Australia Road Running Club. Made very welcome as a guest to the event by president Andrew Cassetti, I enjoyed the run showing that as a type 1 diabetic I can compete as well as anybody else.
On Monday 8th December the tour was supported by the Adelaide sporting communities with a special thanks to Adelaide United FC who gave us a tour around the Coopers Stadium. I saw (unfortunately) the final wicket go at the Adelaide Oval in the 2nd Ashes test of Australia Vs England. Then went on to the AAMI Stadium which is the home of the Adelaide Crows FC (Australian Rules Football). The support from the sports world signals that the professional sporting communities do not discriminate people with diabetes, which in various areas of the world is something that needs to change.
On Wednesday 11th December Diabetes South Australia hosted a Diathlete event to their group, where I was the guest speaker. Pleased to meet a great bunch of people in the group and the event went down very well!
I took on Ultra Marathon number 31 of 2013 on Friday 13th December – a route that stretched 55km from the Ashton Oval to Semaphore Clock Tower, via the Adelaide Oval and West Beach. The run was tough going and with such a hectic schedule I didn’t quite have the time to prepare for it; however, had the fitness and experience in ultra running to pull through! My Blood Sugar levels on the whole were consistent mainly averaging between 8.0-9.0mml/l but I did have one Hypo incident early on in the morning after coming through the hills of Mount Lofty (the highest point in South Australia). Enjoyed the route but the sun did come out strongly and cause me some problems in the afternoon! Finished with a sprint though and it was all in aid of JDRF Australia.
The Diathlete Down Under Tour Itinerary
|26/11/13||07:00||Flight Arrival in Melbourne||Melbourne, Australia|
|27/11/13||18:30||Young Leaders in Diabetes Arrival Dinner||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||07:30||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||09:30||YLD Training: Ice Breakers||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||11:30||YLD Training: What is YLD (intro)?||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||13:30||IDF Introduction with Sir Michael Hirst||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||15:00||YLD Training: Engaging with Media||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|28/11/13||17:00||YLD Training: Managing Diabetes & Diabetes Education||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||08:30||YLD Training: communications||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||10:00||YLD Training: Understanding Cultural Differences||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||11:30||YLD Training: Volunteer & Time Management||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||13:30||YLD Training: YLD Advocacy Training||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||16:00||YLD Training: Government Perspective on Advocacy||IBIS Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|29/11/13||17:00||YLD Training: Diabetes Attitudes, Wishes and Needs||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||08:29||YLD Training: Social Media/Blogging||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||10:30||YLD Training: Ethnical Codes between Advocacy and Pharmaceutical Industry||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||13:30||YLD Training: Identifying Key Problems and Solutions||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||15:30||YLD Training: Life for a Child Programme||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||16:15||YLD Training: Atlas||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||17:00||YLD Training: Education to Achieve the YLD Mission||YLD Programme|
|30/11/13||18:30||Type One Tonight Show, Live Chat Show Guest||Melbourne Community Centre||Type One Tonight|
|30/11/13||20:00||YLD Training: YLD Project Discussion||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|01/12/13||07:30||YLD Exercise Event||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|01/12/13||09:00||YLD General Assembly||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|01/12/13||16:00||YLD Excursion and Social Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|02/12/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|02/12/13||08:30||YLD Training: Psychosocial Aspects of Diabetes||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|02/12/13||14:00||YLD Council Meeting||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|02/12/13||19:00||World Diabetes Congress Opening Ceremony||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|03/12/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|03/12/13||09:30||World Diabetes Congress||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|03/12/13||16:30||YLD Training: Debrief||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|03/12/13||19:00||Dinner With Sponsors||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|04/12/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|04/12/13||09:30||World Diabetes Congress||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|04/12/13||16:30||YLD Debrief||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|04/12/13||17:00||YLD Training: Project Discussion||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|04/12/13||20:00||YLD Closing Programme||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|05/12/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|05/12/13||09:30||World Diabetes Congress||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|05/12/13||16:00||Young Leaders Projects||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|05/12/13||17:00||Meet the Young Leaders Session at IDF Booth||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|05/12/13||18:00||Federation Square Event||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|05/12/13||20:00||Dinner With Diabetes Australia Young Leaders||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|06/12/13||07:00||YLD Exercise Event||Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|06/12/13||08:30||Goodbye and Thank you meeting||IBIS, Melbourne||YLD Programme|
|06/12/13||10:30||World Diabetes Congress||Melbourne||IDF World Diabetes Congress|
|07/12/13||Travel to Adelaide||Adelaide|
|08/12/13||08:00||5k Race, South Australia Road Running Club||Adelaide||SARRC Christmas Caper|
|09/12/13||10:00||Australia Vs England Ashes Test Match||Adelaide Oval||Diathlete Down Under for JDRF Aus|
|10/12/13||15:00||Adelaide United FC, Stadium Tour for Type 1||Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide||Diathlete Down Under for JDRF Aus|
|11/12/13||19:00||Diabetes South Australia speaking event and Questions & Answers session||Adelaide Community Centre||Diabetes SA|
|12/12/13||09:00||Training Run||Adelaide||Diathlete Down Under for JDRF Aus|
|13/12/13||08:00||DDU Ultra 55k Run: Ashton Oval to Semaphore Clock Tower||Ashton Oval; Montacute; Adelaide Oval; Adelaide Arena; West Beach; Semaphore||Diathlete Down Under for JDRF Aus|
|14/12/13||Daytime Activity||Adelaide||Diathlete Down Under for JDRF Aus|
|17/12/13||11:00||Flight home from Adelaide (Via Perth & Dubai)|
THE 30/30 CHALLENGE!
Gavin endured running from John O’Groats to Land’s End from 27th April – 26th May 2013, covering 30 mile routes every day for 30 days!Here is the story…
The Ultimate Ultra-Marathon Challenge
Gavin endured his way across the UK
Saturday 27th April until Sunday 26th May 2013
“This is a challenge to highlight the daily challenges people with type 1 diabetes have to live with every day, whilst showing those with it that we can achieve anything we set our hearts to accomplish in life – diabetes cannot hold us back.”
|Saturday 27th April 2013||John O’Groats Sign Post||Lybster Golf Club|
|Sunday 28th April 2013||Scotsburn Road, Tain||Inverness Castle|
|Monday 29th April 2013||Tulloch Caledonian Stadium||Mosset Park, Forres|
|Tuesday 30th April 2013||Insch Train Station||Esplanade Aberdeen|
|Wednesday 1st May 2013||Pittodrie Park, Aberdeen FC||Johnshaven|
|Thursday 2nd May 2013||Links Park, Montrose FC||Overgate Centre, High St, Dundee|
|Friday 3rd May 2013||Tannadice Park, Dundee Utd FC||Black Watch Castle, Perth|
|Saturday 4th May 2013||Curves Perth Gym, Perth||East End Park, Dunfermline AFC|
|Sunday 5th May 2013||Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow Rangers FC||Memorial Park, Wishaw|
|Monday 6th May 2013||Excelsior Stadium, Airdrie||Edinburgh Castle|
|Tuesday 7th May 2013||Edinburgh Castle||Dunbar|
|Wednesday 8th May 2013||Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle||Roman Vindolanda Museum, Hadrian’s Wall|
|Thursday 9th May 2013||Bardon Mill||Carlisle Castle|
|Friday 10th May 2013||Brunton Park, Carlisle Utd FC||Derwent Park, Workington|
|Saturday 11th May 2013||Lancaster||Highbury Stadium, Fleetwood Town FC|
|Sunday 12th May 2013||Blackpool Pier||Ewood Park Blackburn Rovers FC|
|Monday 13th May 2013||Old Trafford, Manchester Utd||Anfield, Liverpool FC|
|Tuesday 14th May 2013||Goodison Park, Everton FC||Queensway Sports Complex|
|Wednesday 15th May 2013||The Racecourse Ground Wrexham FC||Gresty Road, Crewe Alexandra FC|
|Thursday 16th May 2013||The Potteries Museum, Stoke||Telford Athletics Club|
|Friday 17th May 2013||Central Park, Telford||The Bull Ring, Birmingham|
|Saturday 18th May 2013||Villa Park, Birmingham||Worcester Cathedral|
|Sunday 19th May 2013||Worcester||Gloucester Athletics Club|
|Monday 20th May 2013||Stratford Park, Stroud||Bristol Cathedral|
|Tuesday 21st May 2013||Cheddar Gorge||Somerset Country Cricket Club|
|Wednesday 22nd May 2013||Somerset County Cricket Club||Saint James’ Park Exeter City FC|
|Thursday 23rd May 2013||Plainmoor, Torquay United FC||Plymouth Harbour|
|Friday 24th May 2013||Home Park, Plymouth Argyle FC||Bodmin Jail|
|Saturday 25th May 2013||Bodmin Jail||Saint Agnes Post Office|
|Sunday 26th May 2013||Saint Agnes||Land’s End Sign Post|
Saturday 27th April 2013, start point at John O’Groats.
Halfway through Day 1, Matt Wood (who joined me in running the whole day for the first ultra run of 30 and his wife Clare was the support car driver for the day), and I stopped in at Hamsworth Park, home of Wick Academy FC in the Highland League.
I had a great nights sleep at the Golf View in Tain before setting off from Tain to Inverness. A great thanks to Stephen Bourne who was a support driver for the whole day. Also thanks to Esk who I happened to run by as he went for a Sunday morning cycle and he ended up guiding me through half the journey!
After avoiding cars on the A9 through Day 2, Day 3 saw me take on running from the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, home of the very supportive Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC of the SPL, to Mosset Park in Forres – home of the likewise supportive Forres Mechanics FC from the Highland League.
The Inverness Diabetes Support Group saw me off and I was also joined a few miles by Roddy Riddle – a former professional cyclist who represented Scotland at the Commonwealth Games and the first Type 1 Diabetic I believe to ever complete the Marathon De Sables – which he recently accomplished!
Day 4 had an hours long train journey, which stiffened my legs up before even starting. I went from a random and empty town named Insch to Aberdeen – and am very grateful to the Aberdeen Combat Center for their support, taking my bags in the morning and having me at their gym afterwards. It was a lonely route out there on my own for a whole day!
Here I am on Day 5 with Jim Leighton – a legendary former international Goalkeeper of Scotland and the Goalkeeping coach at Aberdeen FC.
I ran from Aberdeen to Johnshaven, very grateful for the support from Bee, Phil McLean, Bill and Margaret Ferries on the day – Phil and Bill being with me in support the entire day!
Day 6 started with a real lift – I wasn’t running alone – I had a class of eager school children joining me for the first mile at Montrose! Then I was accompanied for 15 miles by Wendy who also donated £300!
Come Dundee though, I was in a bad state in my legs…
I gave a talk in the evening after reaching Dundee at Ninewells Hospital, to the Taykids diabetes support group. The group also donated £250!
I stayed at the Aabalree Guest House in Dundee and the support of John and Linda Bell there was magnificent – John even went a bought me a knee strap to help me on my way. Day 7 didn’t go to plan, suffering badly with my legs on the back of 7 marathons in distance, unaided, in 6 days. I managed a number of miles – but come Perth I had to limp my way to the rainy finish line – Type 1 Beth saw that I did it!
Day 7 began at Tannadice Park home of Dundee United FC
I had a bright start on Day 8, my parents and my kind of aunt and uncle (I guess would be the easiest way to describe close 2nd/3rd cousins..) had come up for the bank holiday weekend with my Dad and Gary joining for the second week. I was seen off by the ladies at Curves Gym in Perth – and here modeled their new seated exercise machine…
Finished Day 8 at East End Park, Dundermline Athletic's ground - as they played their last league game of the season in a defeat against Airdrie. The club gave me a cuppa and a pork pie to keep me happy - I forced movements but legs were in a right old state at this point!
“Does anybody want a bit of quiche?”
The mighty Rangers were celebrating becoming Division 3 Champions on the back of difficult times at Ibrox and I started Day 9 from there to Wishaw – a day I spent limping in some agony.
The Excelsior Stadium, which currently hosts Airdrie United FC, was the start point for Day 10: Airdrie to Edinburgh. I had a number of troubles early on and couldn’t move well at all – to my frustration I had to rest for half the day and run the last part into Edinburgh – with extreme difficulty!
This is the very supportive Diabetes UK Edinburgh Voluntary Group – and the lady on the far right (arms folded in blue) named Cloutilde, is the sports masseuse that I would say saved my challenge! She gave me a check over and highlighted the seed of my problem – a previous injury 4 years back where I tore ankle ligaments, the left did not heal as well as the right and left a weakness, which was exposed by the excessive amount of exercise and strain I had enforced on my feet in the past number of Ultra runs back-to-back. This meant with an in-balance on my feet, I naturally counteracted it by leaning more on the right side, causing the limp, and also put added pressure on my knees – which I was feeling the impact of! I had to strengthen the left foot back up if I was to stand any chance of completing the next 2/3’s of the challenge.
With my Dad and Gary we had a few Newcastle Brown Ale’s in Geordie Land that evening, not too many but enough! This, I feel, was needed. To wind down a little. The following day was Newcastle to Hexham and if I was to be successful a lot depended on this day – could I get moving again without limping?
I was walk-run-walk-running, taking it easy to not over-do-it – even though I was still covering 30(+) miles. But the important factor was that I was doing it! I was moving and I was moving with much more comfort again, able to keep an even balance. The exercises on my legs had been effective and the challenge was back on!
…we did get lost on the wrong side of the River Tyne that day though
When I made it from Bardon Mill to Carlisle Castle, hitting a sudden burst into a 10mph pace to finish the day off on Day 13, I knew in my mind the I really could achieve completing 30/30 – the problems were behind me, I could run strong again!
Holding the Torch is Type 1 6 year Old Angel, who really is an Angel! She gave me a wooden Angel to protect me for the rest of my journey.
Day 14, Carlisle to Workington, started at Brunton Park home of Carlisle United FC. The 10th of May is a date where on both sides of my family an important member to me has been lost. In 1998 my Grandad Harry passed on that day, and recently in 2011 we lost Uncle Michael that day. So I wanted to get through the day and dedicate that to them and my family on the 10th – I ran with Angel’s angel in my pocket for the first time – ironically enough.
Day 15, the halfway day, was filled with non-stop rain!!! 4 hours of rain to start the day = #unpleasant
I ran from Lancaster to Fleetwood – finishing at Highbury Stadium home of Fleetwood Town FC, whose hospitality of me was incredible: a tour around the ground, a meal, a shower, a beer, a box to sit and watch the FA Cup final in. I was delighted to be running strongly and this was the icing on the cake! Thank you Fleetwood Town FC!
Day 16, over the halfway mark and feeling very confident. I was joined by Danny Moon on the first 15 miles from Blackpool into Preston, he done brilliant as a 15 year old with Type 1 diabetes who’d never ran more than 5 miles before!
I finished in the rain at Ewood Park.
In the evening of Day 16 I went back to Preston to speak with the Preston and Area Junior Diabetes Group, before saying goodbye to Dad and Gary and being picked to to go to Bury, where I’d stay at fellow Type 1 Hannah’s families home, before travelling to Manchester in the morning!
Jude Sutton took me from Bury to Old Trafford and then took my bags on from there, her twins both have Type 1 diabetes!
We had a tour around Old Trafford, with thanks to the Premier League Champions, Manchester United FC, who were super on the day.
The day was raising for DWED (Diabetics With Eating Disorders) and is dedicated in memory of Sian Howarth, who was taken far before her time at just 23 and was a Type 1 diabetic that worked to inspire – hence DWED being set up. Kathryn from DWED joined my final 10 miles of a very hard day, and we finished at Anfield home of Liverpool FC!
Tom Jones, from Wales of course, joined me to run the whole day – Tom is a fellow Type 1 like myself and a Everton fan.
This is the finish at Queensway Wrexham – I was pleased to make it alive!
After a wet and long day the day before and in being without a sports masseuse or any professional help since Edinburgh, on Day 19 I was feeling the affects again. Fortunately we were able to see a physio! The route was Wrexham to Crewe, but in seeing the physio I couldn’t do a full day being against the clock (any later than a 8pm finish and my recovery for the next day would be under pressure) so I was pushed up a couple of miles. This didn’t matter too much, I’m only human and needed to be fit for the next 1/3 of the challenge having already covered more miles than I should have and over 20 marathons in 19 days. Tom supported as a driver with my bags, and when approaching Crewe I got my pace going strong again and finished very well.
Day 20, Stoke to Telford. I started at the Potteries Museum in Stoke-on-Trent and after finding my way out of the city center, made my way to Telford on a day that registered over 35 miles!
Andy Clifton supported me as a driver and a runner – parking up and running 5 miles before running back to get the car!
My spirits were lifted on my Telford finish. We couldn’t find the originally planned ‘Central Park’ anywhere and so went to Telford Athletics Club – there I ended up doing an additonal 400m with around 50 young athletes around the track! They each took turns at carrying the Olympic Torch!
I stayed at the Stone House Guest House and can’t thank the Taylor’s enough for their support and hospitality, having me for dinner as well as for Bed and Breakfast!
I stopped in at Molineux Stadium, home of Wolverhampton Wanderers, on my run from Telford to Birmingham – which again clocked up considerable miles more than the intended 30. It wasn’t easy going, the canals for many miles appeared like I could get mugged at any moment!
Met my family on the morning of Day 22, which was a boost, and my sister Kaylie I hadn’t seen in around 8 months – she’d be with me on the support team for the remainder of the challenge! Villa Park to Worcester – very grateful for the support of Aston Villa FC!
I had my family in support for the final day until the final weekend, so it was a good boost for the route from Worcester to Gloucester. The Glenvum Voluntary Group at Gloucester donated £150 at my finish!
Jeff Astle (in the photo) ran 2 full days incredibly back-to-back! His daughter, Mimi, a 9 year old Type 1, was the star of the day running the Torch past her class mates at the start of the day through Cheddar and then finishing the day with it into Somerset County Cricket Club.
I was struggling along a bit as I entered Devon from Somerset on my route from Taunton to Exeter. The night before the town of Mark had a fund raiser at the Pack Horse Inn pub which raised £1200 for the cause – so on this day my spirits were lifted.
I can be your hero baby…
It was an extremely difficult run to Plymouth though…
Kevin Winchcombe joined up with me for the remaining 4 days, along with Kaylie and aunt Jayne who were the support team for the final week.
Kev would cycle each day beside me.
‘Support Team’ were enthusiastic… (this video contains some bad language from my support team, I do apologise..)
After a look around the spooky Bodmin Jail, my second to last day was a route from Bodmin to Saint Agnes – very hilly again!
Amy Winchcombe, a Type 1 12 Year old (holding Torch), joined me in defying diabetes as she cycled for a day meeting me with her family at the top of this crazy 500ft hill out of Bodmin! Amy done fantastic – even running the final MASSIVE hill into Saint Agnes with the Torch!
The final day was Saint Agnes to Land’s End – an absolute monster 40 miles (after Matt Wood – again running a full day – and I took a wrong turn 12 miles in). Kev met us and cycled from Hayle, what was meant to be the 15/16 mile point but probably was more around 20 miles!
I was in a eager mood to get the job done and hit some quick speeds in good spells. It was a long old day but come the finish point, I had to go full out. Before I started the challenge I knew a Sprint Finish would be the way to do it, as I always have forced out in the past.
A sprint finish it was!
There was little rest. The following day I needed to make it to Wembley Stadium, finishing my tour of football stadiums, to watch Crystal Palace get promoted!
On Thursday the 19th of July arguable the greatest honour I will ever have in my life was being an Olympic Torch Bearer for the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay , running the flame at Westgate-on-Sea in Thanet, Kent. I was given this honour through all previous diabetes accomplishments. The day was supported by thousands around Thanet and also from some family and friends. On the Olympic Torch Relay Bus I also shared a seat next to 4x Olympian Karen Pickering, which was really cool.
11th & 12th July 2009
My aim for this challenge was to complete running around the 70 mile perimeter of the Isle of Wight over 2 days. There were extreme weather conditions on the Isle with rain and thick fog that weekend. I failed to complete the whole 70 miles, completing 50 miles of it after not fully recovering and re-injuring torn ankle ligaments in both ankles! The original injury was sustained just a matter of weeks prior to the challenge.
On the eve of the 8th after 35 miles of running in Day 1, I successfully hosted a live music gig at The Wight Rock Bar Ryde with bands Floors and Walls and The Special K’s performing a kick a*se gig! The event raised £2k for Diabetes UK. Well done to Dan Francis who completed cycling it in the 2 days, after the dangerous weather conditions had forced him to stop on the first day.
The Isle of Wight Event 2
8th-11th August 2010
After not succeeding as I had intended to around the Isle in 2009, the following year I returned with unfinished business!
It was one of my greatest achievements personally to me, returning to face my demons on the high inclined 70 mile island. This time I successfully completed it with a sprint finish, but after suffering some knee damage. It raised around the £2k mark again for Diabetes UK. The Special K’s, Thea Ford and Shush performed a gig at The Wight Rock Bar. Vince Griffiths, my dad, also cycled the Isle in a single day too!