Diabetes doesn’t control you, you control it. Learn about it and get on with your life.

27 April 2015 | Martin Draper

Category: Sports and Exercise

Diabetes doesn’t control you, you control it. Learn about it and get on with your life.

55 year old Martin Draper was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2003. He has shown that living with the condition does not have to hold you back in life and completed his 100th marathon this summer for JDRF, the Type 1 diabetes charity.

Hailing from Bridgwater, Martin has recently completed his 100th marathon at Giants Head in Cerne Abbas, Dorset. Martin is the first person with Type 1 diabetes to join this exclusive club. Talking of his diagnosis, Martin said:

“I had the classic symptoms of losing weight, drinking lots and feeling dreadful. It hasn’t been easy but what I’ve realised is that with careful management, Type 1 diabetes doesn’t control you, you control it.”

He added:

“By 2012, my overall marathon total had reached 50, and I decided to aim for membership of the 100 marathon club”

Martin has cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats and also done the return trip, climbed Kilimanjaro and even made it to Everest base camp. Martin – who is a father of three and a grandfather of one – has run marathons all over the world from Paris to Edinburgh to Singapore. His first 26 mile race living with Type 1 diabetes was the London Marathon in 2004. In 2012 Martin ran 23 marathons and in 2013 he ran 29.

Karen Addington, CEO of JDRF said:

“Martin is a real inspiration to people living with Type 1 diabetes. This is a remarkable challenge that proves that living with the condition does not have to hold you back in life. The cure will one day be found, it’s just a matter of time, money and excellent research.”

Martin is keen to offer his advice to others that live with Type 1 diabetes and meet other runners that manage complex conditions. He said:

“I’ve been down an unsteady road of tears and triumphs but if you surround yourself with supportive friends and family and shed light on what you are dealing with – things are a lot easier. Physical challenges have always appealed to me and after being diagnosed I saw no reason to stop doing this type of thing. For me it’s a work hard, play hard approach to life that I enjoy.”

So what’s Martin’s advice for those taking up running?

“Start running in a small way – begin by walking/running between alternate lamp posts and build it up from there. Park Runs, 5K, 10K, half marathon and so on. If it’s not fun and enjoyable, don’t do it. I’ve learnt trail running is what I like more than big city marathons, so that’s what I do. Always carry a testing meter and always carry a source of sugar. Test your blood glucose frequently during an event especially if it’s varied terrain and be especially careful with your blood glucose the day after an event – you may not need as much insulin as normal.”

“About five years ago I moved from a control regime of multiple daily injections to using an Animas insulin pump. It’s fantastic. I would advise any Type 1 diabetic marathon runners to do the same. No more dealing with long acting insulin adjustments the night before! The ease of blood glucose control before, during and after an event is massive. I would never go back. Diabetes doesn’t control you, you control it. Learn about it and get on with your life.”

If other people want to do something incredible like Martin and take part in a challenge for JDRF, they can contact the team at events@jdrf.org.uk