Going the distance to beat Diabetes
At Proserv, we have our fair share of exercise enthusiasts, keen to keep fit and healthy. Senior Designer Scott Andrews is one such runner, and has recently undertaken a challenge to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation by running the Virgin Money London Marathon. We recently spoke with Scott about his training efforts in preparation for the run on the 3 October 2021, and why the endeavour is so important to him and his daughter.
Why are you running the marathon?
My daughter and I both have Type 1 Diabetes. I am running the London Marathon to prove not only to myself but to my daughter that having Diabetes doesn’t have to stop you from achieving your goals.
I chose the London Marathon because it has always been a personal goal to complete it, ever since seeing family members finish the run many years ago. I have spoken with people that have run the marathon before, and they have said the atmosphere is amazing.
Have you done much running or any marathon events before?
I have always been a keen runner. As a runner, the London Marathon is one of those events that is a must, and this will be my first attempt. I have done many parkruns and completed the East Coast 10k event. As part of my training, I recently ran the Norwich half marathon event on the 13th of June.
What training are you doing to get ready?
I am currently running three times a week, varying the distance anywhere between two to seven miles. My current pace for these runs is approximately eight minutes per mile. My training app tells me that I need to run at a pace of 10.18 minutes per mile to complete the marathon in my desired finishing time of four hours, 30 minutes.
Over the past few weeks I have started to increase the distance, and I am trying to get used to the pace required to complete the marathon in the desired time. This has been hindered by the fact that I pulled my calf muscle a few weeks ago. All training was suspended until I could walk properly again.
What have been the biggest challenges in your training so far?
There have been many challenges so far. Planning routes to hit the target distances has been a key challenge, as well as making time within my family to go for a run.
My biggest challenge to date has been running with my condition. Training is difficult! Apart from the obvious injuries, having Diabetes means that I must ensure my blood sugar levels are at a reasonable level before I start my run. It can take anywhere between a few hours to a day for my blood sugar levels to stabilise enough to go on a run.
While I’m running I have to be aware of my blood sugar levels as they can start to drop mid-run. To be able to do this, I have self-funded the Dexcom G6 sensor and bought a Garmin watch. This enables me to see my current blood sugar levels on my watch, so I can react to any lows with dextrose tablets as soon as I see them. I must also deal with the aftereffects of a run, which can last anywhere between a few hours to 24 hours post-run.
Anything can affect my blood sugars and they can do unexpected things at any time. The main difficulty is that, on my current regime of injecting insulin, I can’t take the insulin away once I have injected it. The good news is that I have been accepted to have NHS funding for an insulin pump. I want to give a big thank you to the Diabetic Nurse that has made this happen. This will give me the ability to better control the insulin in my body and gives me the ability to pause/stop the insulin pump, especially when it comes to exercise. With the addition of the Dexcom G6 integration I will, essentially, have a semi-automatic mechanical pancreas making some of the decisions for me, thus meaning less stress. Hopefully!
How supportive have your colleagues been?
Support from colleagues has been great. Some have sponsored, some have told me about their hints and tips for running long distances (e.g. gels), and some have also told me about apps that help plan routes.
Have you had much support so far in terms of sponsorship?
To date, I have raised £691 of my £1000 target. This is with Proserv sponsoring me £300 of that, which I am very grateful for. I am hoping to achieve my target before the event, and possibly more. I appreciate that trying to raise money in the current situation is not ideal, and I am very fortunate that people have donated.
Do you have any tips for anyone considering running a marathon?
As I haven’t completed the marathon yet, my tip once completed might be not to do it at all – we’ll see! Currently, I would say preparation is key. Don’t underestimate the distance. Also, find someone to train with if possible, as running solo is not much fun!
If you would like to support Scott Andrews, please visit his fundraising page.