On Saturday the 28th of April Paul Sycamore will be participating in his 2nd London Marathon. Juggling his own business, a family of 3 young children and a grueling, marathon – training regime can be challenging enough but Paul is also Type 1 Diabetic and therefore this can present an additional set of obstacles for the runner. I spoke to Paul about his training and reasons he is running 26.2 miles of London track in aid of Diabetes UK.
Paul was diagnosed T1 Diabetic when he was 13 years old. T1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in the blood to become too high. This means the body cannot produce enough insulin which controls the bloods glucose. Daily injections of insulin keep the blood glucose under control or alternatively a relatively new medical device – the insulin pump, which Paul uses.
The insulin pump allows more flexibility for the user accompanied with regular blood glucose monitoring and carb counting. It works via pumping tiny amounts of insulin into the blood throughout the day and night. The pump is attached to the skin through a tiny tube in which the insulin travels into the body. The tube has to be replaced every 2/3 days along with the pump being moved to different parts of the body. Costing around £2000, the pump lasts 4 to 8 years and can be funded by the NHS in certain cases.
Type 1 Diabetes, unlike Type 2, is not linked to age or being overweight. Symptoms of Type 1 are as follows:
- Constant thirst
- Frequent urination especially at night
- Weight loss – without trying
- Blurred vision
- Cuts and grazes that do not heal effectively
NHS recommend that if any of these symptoms apply, to contact your doctor for testing.
As you may imagine, running a marathon is a monumental challenge, both physically and mentally, for any runner, however with Paul’s condition extra precautions must be taken to ensure he is safe in training and throughout the actual run itself. Paul has taken extra time with his training ensuring he has built up his fitness gradually over time. His wife, Melissa, speaks in her own words about the anxieties Paul’s training brings:
Exercise brings so many complications to the daily routine of a T1D (Type 1 diabetic) What are his sugar levels at the beginning of the session? What has he eaten? What insulin has already been injected? Has he had any highs or lows over the past 24/48 hours? What happens if his infusion gets disconnected, or his pump fails whilst he is running? What if his sugar levels drop really low and he can’t help himself?
Despite some of the obvious complications and risks Paul is at peak fitness, training regularly with a few half marathons booked for the beginning of March. After those he will begin increasing the distance to 20 miles. He describes the amazing feeling and atmosphere of the London marathon and how the crowds and support of his friends, family and general public are overwhelming on the day.
Paul will be running the marathon in aid of Diabetes UK a charity which conduct ground breaking, scientific research into diabetes. They are the largest diabetes research charity and offer community support groups, online help and advice, raising awareness of diabetes and much more.
As a father of 3 beautiful young children, Paul aims to show them that anything can be achieved, no matter what card you are dealt in life. Aware that T1 diabetes does present a chance of it being passed down to his children, Paul is adamant his children will know that anything is possible even with this condition. I have the utmost respect for Paul and his family for raising awareness and money towards such a deserving cause. I know his children, as well as friends, family and our community will be supporting Paul every step of the 26.2 miles through London.
If you wish to find out more about Paul’s story and donate you can do so via this link: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/paulsycamorediabetesuk?utm_campaign=pfp-share&utm_content=PaulSycamoreDiabetesUK&utm_medium=fundraisi