DiAthlete Challenges

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Some of the stories behind a few of Gavin’s main adventures…

DiAthlete Ghana Tour 

Accra BG

12th – 20th October 2015

Schedule:
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

Ghana School Talk

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Ghana Run 3

Ghana Programme

Diathlete GH

mHealth Grand Tour 2015

Cycling 1500km from Brussels to Geneva

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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

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Day 2: Cambrai to Reims

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Day 3: Reims to Paris

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 Rest Day in Paris:

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Stage 2: Paris to Belfort

Day 4: Paris to Troyes

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Day 5: Troyes to Langres

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Day 6: Langres to Belfort

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Stage 3: Belfort to Geneva

Day 7: Belfort to Yverdon

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Day 8: Yverdon to Morzine

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Day 9: Morzine to Geneva

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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.

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Diathlete NYCDiathlete (1)

USA TOUR 2014!

USA Flag

New York City, Long Island, Minneapolis, Miami, San Diego and San Francisco!

Supporting Marjorie’s Fund
LOGO_MARJORIES_FUND1September 5th – October 7th 2014…

Sponsored by DEXCOM

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Dates

Location

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.

talk mf

September 7th – 13th: The Manhattan Marathons Challenge!

DAY ONE:

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…

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DAY TWO:

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.

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DAY THREE:

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.

Day 3

DAY FOUR:

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!

port jeff

DAY FIVE:

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.

Route 5

DAY SIX:

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.

Bayside

DAY SEVEN:

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.

GG JB

September 15th: JDRF MinnDakotas Talk!

From 6.30pm at 3001 Metro Drive, Suite 100, Bloomington, MN  55425

Talk MN

September 16th: Minneapolis Cycle Challenge

Little Gav

September 16th: Type 1 Dinner!

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September 21st: Fundraiser in the Park, Miami

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Miami event

Miami Dolphins Game!

Miami Dolphins Cheerleaders

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.

DRI pic

Miami Marlins Tour:
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September 28th: San Diego Coast Run! 29th: DEXCOM Seminar!

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October 4th: San Francisco Hike

San Fran car Diathlete Golden Gate

San Francisco Support Team:
Lucas Fogarty

Fabiana Couto
Jasmine Amerasekera

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.

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Diathlete Down Under poster

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!

MELBOURNE:
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.

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yld speaking

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YLD suits

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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.

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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!

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circleYLD Congress

ADELAIDE:
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.

5km fin

5km run

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.

coopers stadium

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adelaide oval

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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!

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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. 

Adelaide Map Diathlete

55km finish point

semaphore finish kids

 

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The Diathlete Down Under Tour Itinerary

Date

Time

Event

Location

Association

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…

27th April

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.”


Old Trafford pitch

DATE

START POINT

FINISH POINT

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

john o'groats pic

 

Saturday 27th April 2013, start point at John O’Groats.

 

 

 

 

 

Wick AFCHalfway 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!

Inverness GBR 3030

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!

Aberdeen fight clubDay 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!

 

Aberdeen JL
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!

montrose start
D
ay 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…

NinewellsI gave a talk in the evening after reaching Dundee at Ninewells Hospital, to the Taykids diabetes support group. The group also donated £250!

 

 

 

Perth FinI 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

Dundee Utd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

curvesI 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…

DAFCFinished 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?”

RangersThe 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.

 

Celtic FC weren’t too supportive, so I took my photo from outside the stadium… It may have been the Union Flag and Blue I was wearing, even though I’m a Palace Boy!Celtic FC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Airdrie picThe 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!

Airdrie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edinburgh Castle groupThis 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.

north berwickI done the appropriate exercises, got in the ICE COLD Sea at North Berwick and hoped for a miracle…

 

 

 

 

Newcastle UnitedWith 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?

HexhamI 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

CArlisle Castle

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.

Carlisle UnitedDay 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.

Fleetwood TownDay 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!

Blackburn RoversDay 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!

Preston

 

(Preston Group)

 

 

 

 

man utdJude 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!

Liverpool CupArriving at Anfield at 7pm, the club were very supportive. This photo is in front of the Champion’s League Trophy won in 2005!

 

 

 

 

Everton FCDay 18 of the challenge was from Goodison Park, across the Mersey and eventually across the England-Wales border into Wrexham.

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.

queenswayIn getting the wrong Ferry across the Mersey and seeing the ‘sights’ of Liverpool… we then ended up in the back of a Police car after taking the wrong turn… onto the dangerous Rock Ferry Bypass!

This is the finish at Queensway Wrexham – I was pleased to make it alive!

wrexhamAfter 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.

creweWith the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, after receiving excellent hospitality from Crewe Alexandra FC.

 

 

 

 

stoke museumDay 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!

telford acMy 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!

Wolves

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!

 

Villa Park GMet 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!

 

Worcester Cathedral(Worcester Cathedral)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gloucester FinishI 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!

 

 

 

 

Bristol schoolStroud to Bristol – I said from the start if I make Bristol, I’m going the distance.

Alfie Huke was the star of this show, Type 1 and aged 5! His school mates came out to support. Jeff Astle ran the whole day and Chris Huke covered over 10 miles as the support really began to grow.

 

TauntonCheddar Gorge to Taunton was a great day, people were out on the streets and the schools were out to cheer me on through Cheddar, Wedmore and Mark. For a moment I thought the Olympics were back on…

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.


ExeterI 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…

Exeter City FC gave me a warm welcome to Saint James Park to finish.

 

Torquay UtdI could almost smell the finish line when in Torquay – starting at Plainmoor, Torquay United FC.

It was an extremely difficult run to Plymouth though…

 

 

 

TorquayKevin 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.

 

 

 

 

torquay hillsThe hills were pretty extreme, non-stop, until Land’s End more or less.

 

plymouth argI started Day 28 at Home Park, Plymouth Argyle’s football ground, on a route from Plymouth to Bodmin. Finish point at Bodmin Jail, where I would start the following day from.

‘Support Team’ were enthusiastic… (this video contains some bad language from my support team, I do apologise..)
BodminAfter 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!

lands end finishThe 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!

lands end photoA fantastic bit of support through the final day and at the end to see me in!

 

 

 

 

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!

wembley crystals

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boris Johnson

JDRF_2C_Logo (1)

 

DiabetesUK_final_brand

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.

The Isle of Wight Event

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!

 

isle of wight