My next challenge – By Roddy Riddle


A lot of dust has settled since I raced the toughest foot race in the World last April the Marathon Des Sables (MDS) as a type 1 diabetic to raise awareness and a few coppers along the way for Diabetes UK and JDRFUK with the huge generosity from friends, family and general nice people I raised 26K split between my two chosen charities.

My time since MDS has mainly been taken up with doing presentations on running MDS with type 1 diabetes and how I coped with the heat distance and managing my diabetes.

I always said if I completed the MDS then I would finally retire…. Well me being me that’s not happening, I’ve chosen a very different challenge although similar distance and one day less than MDS. I’ve done the +52 degrees Ultra Marathon so to push the boundaries and prove living with type 1 diabetes shouldn’t stop you achieving your goals I’ve chosen a 82 degrees deficit and going to run a 155 mile 4 day Arctic Ultra Marathon fully self sufficient carrying food, sleeping bag, medical supplies etc in -30 degrees temperatures in February 2015.

How am I going to train for such an extreme event and make sure my Animas Vibe insulin pump and OneTouch blood glucose monitor will work in these cold extremities? I live in Inverness Scotland so coming out of a winter up here it will certainly be easier than preparing for MDS, I am so lucky to have access again to Edinburgh’s Napier University Climatic Chamber to help get used to opposite temperatures than I had to cope with during MDS, they helped me so much to acclimatise to heat for MDS and are backing me yet again I am so pleased, my team behind me who make sure I get to the start line 100% fit and well couldn’t be more qualified, starting with my diabetic specialist nurse Lorna Grant from NHS Highland who has said she will knit me a onesie to keep me warm at night, David Brandie my physio, Irene Riach my dietitian and the main foundation behind me doing these things my wife Lynn and my three lovely kids, Alasdair (9) Isla (8) and our youngest Findlay who was born the week I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, 5 1/2 years ago.

Next time I’ll write about my preparation with training and how my diabetes copes with training in severe cold temperatures in walk in freezers!

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Inspirational and uplifting!! Go Roddy! Your diabetic team sound fantastic – my son was diagnosed a couple of years ago and his care has ranged from just amazing to downright horrible! I will always be grateful to the rugby-playing male nurse who himself was Type 1, who put his arm around my son’s shoulders when first diagnosed (and felt his world had collapsed) and told him he would be back on the pitch before he knew it. The GP’s surgery – well that’s another story! Best of luck with all the training

Roddy is very inspiring (he gave a talk at our local hospital which I was thrilled to attend) but he is also very lucky in that very few of us have access to CGMS and the other intense support that he receives. It’s much harder for most of us to engage in these challenging activities without CGMS; I even had to argue for a blood glucose meter different from the standard one I was offered as it didn’t operate below 10’C – useless for outdoor activities in Scotland!

In response to Helen a few of my presentations have been in schools and for various Diabetic groups where parents and children attend. Thanks for kind words.

Roddy is an inspiration: not many of us (whether we had diabetes or not) could do the MDS but it is great to know that diabetes does not have to get in the way.
Roddy mentioned that he has been spending a lot of his time doing presentations about his achievement. I hope some of these presentations have been to children and their parents: I think it is important to get the message across at a young age. And I am sure they would be intrigued by his adventures.

I am Type 1 and have been diagnosed for 27 years. I have been using an insulin pump since July 2013. In 2012 I completed the National Three Peaks Challenge (my back pack was much heavier than everyone elses due to my diabetic supplies) and have run 2 half marathons (2012 and 2013), I completed a 195 mile bike ride across 2 days in 2013. I am competing in my first full marathon in May this year. It is a constant job of juggling, calculating and reviewing blood glucose levels and diet. I do sometimes wish that I could just compete in things without having to think but that’s not going to happen, so I just get on with it. My Diabetes does not seem to stop me doing anything that I really want to do but I just need to prepare and think a bit more than a non-diabetic competitors.