This week I will embark upon quite a packed schedule with many travels and not so much rest. I look forward to every moment of it!
The goal of this upcoming DiAthlete European Tour is to directly reach a number of type 1 diabetes communities and operate events to help strengthen the unity in local areas. Whilst supplying direct advice and education on keeping more stable blood glucose control during exercise to these communities, hopefully this will be combined with a bit of motivation too – there are a number of runs lined up!
On top of all of this, in heading out to a lot of Eastern parts of Europe, I personally want to learn more about type 1 diabetes care in these locations and to use the DiAthlete network to share stories from the people I meet on this journey.
Here’s a look at the busy schedule to come:
- 13th April: arrive in Budapest, Hungary, and play an 11-a-side football match in the evening for an all type 1 diabetes team with my friend and fellow Young Leader in Diabetes, Dr Daniel Vegh.
- 14th April: travel for 9 hours to Belgrade, Serbia, to catch Alumni Young Leaders in Diabetes, Tijana Milanovic and Aleksandar Opacic, along with fellow mHealth Grand Tour 2015 cyclist, Uros Bogdanovic, and a host of diabetes community members from Belgrade for a group river run. It looks like we could have as many as 40 people joining us!
- 15th April: travel from Belgrade to Sofia, Bulgaria, by coach – it could take some time!
- 16th April: Sofia’s 5km run Bulgaria event – where I will be racing in the 5km in the morning, before speaking to the local diabetes community with my friend and fellow Young Leader from Bulgaria, Rossitza Handjiyska, at a Bulgarian Diabetes Association event.
- 17th April: flight to Bologna, Italy, where I will catch up with another Alumni Young Leader in Diabetes, Luca Cappellini, who was my roommate in Melbourne at the 2013 IDF World Diabetes Congress.
- 18th April: a train from Bologna to Venice, lunch, followed by a bus from Venice to Ljubljana, Slovenia. I have a few friends I used to work with in Ljubljana and may check in at their local diabetes centre – who I met with in 2014.
- 19th April: a bus from Ljubljana to Zagreb, Croatia, for the final event of the Europe Tour, a community run and a type 1 dinner to follow. Joining me to run will be Vedran Krcadinac, who shared info on the event here – and I will catch up with Young Leaders in Diabetes David Klapan, Maja Vukovic, Danijela Susilovic, Ivana Cukrena and Team Novo Nordisk’s Nenad Simnuko – who was my roommate during the mHealth Grand Tour from Brussels to Geneva last year. (I should add that both Luca and Nenad are very brave men to have experienced being my roommate, I do tend to destroy most hotels so they deserve an award…)
Belgrade Community Running Route for 14th April.
To have so many friends from so many different locations is incredible – and this has all came about in my life because I live with type 1 diabetes and have adopted a positive attitude towards living with it. Extremely excited to be catching up with everybody!
I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and interest from the communities to have me over in these locations and full credit to the names mentioned above, to get the word out there and make things happen. To be honest with dates such as World Diabetes Day and recently World Health Day, a lot of effort is made for awareness, but personally I feel the most valued thing that we can do as advocates ahead of tweets, hashtags and selfies, is to actually get out there on the ground, meet people, speak, socialise and make things happen. All this money that gets spent on aspects such as board meetings and professional conferences, the first class flights and fancy hotels, I want to put that to shame – what comes of most of those meetings? Sometimes they seem to be too far concentrated on personal status they forget the true meaning. Here, I feel that by going out there and taking the time and making the effort to reach communities, a lot more will come of it.
Travel is an area that understandably has question marks for many people and families living with diabetes. I have to take my diabetes essentials with me and be fully responsible for my healthcare. We are responsible for our health every day with diabetes and in this case, when travelling so much, I will have to be that extra bit more so careful and responsible to remember everything and to keep a close check on my levels. With such a schedule, it is going to be tiring, one place after another, and this could affect my blood glucose control throughout the week; so I will keep plenty of gels and supplies on hand!
In terms of the running I would love to be able to say I am going to go there and win the main 5km race in Bulgaria. However this will probably not be the case. For one I much prefer long distance – I am an ultra runner! 5km racing is much different for me, it is a different style -almost full on throughout for 3 miles. As a marathoner I like to reserve my energy and keep the tank full until the end, and then unleash whatever I have left. It is almost a completely different sport with these little whippets! My goal is to do my best for the great support that I have in Sofia and to try and beat the 20 minute mark. I beat it when in Vancouver in my last 5km back in early December, I ran a 19 min 53 race and could have done better as I stopped to tie my laces! That meant a 14th place finish out of something like 500 people, so it was positive! But at the same time I have not trained for 5km and have been coming back after shin-splints to start the year, so lets see how it goes!
Whenever I run, whether it is 5km or 500 miles, my first and foremost aim is to reach the finish line – and to do it with the best control of my blood glucose I can possibly achieve.
Also back on British soil there are a few events coming soon:
- 24th April: JDRF North Sports Day event, Altrincham (near Manchester)
- 6 – 8th May: DiAthlete Northern Ireland weekend
- 12th June: DiAthlete Training Session in London’s Green Park, practical type 1 diabetes and sports education from 11am
And if you are interested in buying a DiAthlete performance top, we have new stock in with both children and adult sizes, they come in blue and pink and the funds from the tops support the events we are working on supplying directly for international type 1 communities! Thank you 🙂