Pam Durant speaks with Nick Glover, an ultra athlete living with Type 1 Diabetes. Nick shares his journey with Type 1 and how he became a diabetes Ironman. He also shares the details of a very special event he has planned to honor November – the month of Diabetes Awareness – and those living with diabetes. If you are looking for inspiration, look no further.
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Nick Glover is an endurance athlete who has been living with Type 1 Diabetes for almost 30 years. He is also a double cancer survivor.
Nick reached a milestone as the first Manx-born Ultraman finisher in 2019. He aspires to leave a legacy that is described as “A non-judgmental support system that allows people to express themselves and achieve their true potential.” He does this through challenging the status quo in pursuit of progress.
Episode 12: Becoming Ironman – Type 1 Diabetes And The Journey From Triathlete to Ultra Marathoner, with Diabetes Ironman Nick Glover
Hello, and welcome to Dia-Logue, the Diapoint podcast.
I’m your host, Pam Durant.
Hi everyone. Today I’m speaking with Nick Glover who has had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 30 years. He’s also a double cancer survivor. He’s an endurance athlete who reached a milestone as the first Manx born Ultraman Ironman finisher in 2019. And also, he was the second ever finisher of the Ironman. And he’s done many, many other ultra races, triathlons, and so and so much more, which he’ll share about during our discussion. He aspires to leave a legacy that’s described as a non-judgmental support system that allows people to express themselves and achieve their true potential. He attempts to do this through a purpose of challenges that challenge the status quo in pursuit of progress. And he really is challenging the status quo through his sport, and through also the messaging that he’s putting out through what he does and what he’s exemplifying.
And I really enjoyed this discussion with Nick. I actually met him through another parent of a child with Type 1 Diabetes, and someone sent his link for his upcoming challenge and plans to her at work. And she forwarded it to me, and I thought it was just quite aspirational and quite a big challenge.
And one thing that I can say, since I started Diapoint and advocating for people with diabetes, that the more people that I meet with diabetes, the more inspirational things that they’re doing. And it’s just really unbelievable. And this is one of the reasons why I wanted to start this podcast so that we could hear those stories from those people themselves. Because it’s one thing to go out and do an Ironman or an ultra challenge, and then throw in the challenge of managing diabetes while doing that. It just adds so many extra variables to it. It’s not impossible, as Nick proves to us through the many things that he’s done in the many other athletes that do this. But it is a challenge beyond challenges. So I hope you enjoy today’s episode.
So Nick, thank you so much for joining me today on the podcast. I’m very excited to have you here. And I talked a little bit about your background. But why don’t you tell us more about yourself? Because it’s always good to hear the story from the person rather than me talk about it.
Well, a nice wide open question. But I never really know where to start. So we’ll start with I’m 44. Well, I am 43. Keep saying 44. I’m nearly 40, nearly 44 and 43, 44 in November. I am a Type 1 Diabetic, also a double cancer survivor. I’ve lived in Dubai now for nearly a year and a half, nearly two years. And the second time around. I’m from a place called the Isle of Man. Tiny little island with a population of 80,000 in the middle of the Irish Sea. And I left to come to Dubai for the first time in 2009, where I met my wife, who is a Kiwi. And we moved to Singapore together and spent six years there before coming back to Dubai. I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when I was 14. It was October whatever year that was, a long, long time ago now 30 years. 30 years this year I think it is. And when they diagnosed me in those days, I was admitted to hospital for two weeks. I was given an orange and a bunch of hypodermic needles to practice on. Not sure that really an orange really replicates the skin when I think back but after all these years, that’s what they did in those days. And yeah, then I was sent home. And the first piece of advice I was given was to test the hypo. To feel what it’s like so make myself go into hyperglycemia, which we did. And I got to eat digestive biscuits and it was really good fun at the time. Not sure I do it again now but yeah, so a brief summary of me.
Yeah, doctors. I’ve heard doctors say that’s what they used to do. Now they don’t do that to tell you to learn how to deal with a hypo and make yourself hypoglycemic. But they used to do it under medical supervision in the hospital, so that parents and children could learn how to manage low blood sugars, which would be really frightening. Of course, the first time we had a hypo, we were outside the hospital and, you know, didn’t know quite what to do and different things like that. So it’s changed a lot. And how do you remember how it felt? At 14? Was it challenging? Or was it just really kind of a matter of fact about it?
Yeah, it depends on which way you look at it. So internally accepting it, as this is life now, was fine. It was a matter of fact, you know, I actually said to my parents, does that mean I can give up chocolate now? Because I was quite flompy, let’s call it, not fat. But I was kind of definitely a slightly pokier young boy. Although I played sports, played football, I carried some, some extra pounds, and then I lost the weight. And then for some reason, I thought, chocolate’s gonna make the difference, I won’t be allowed chocolate anymore. So I’ll stop going to the sweetie shop. That didn’t happen. But I accepted that this was it. This was what life was gonna be like. But the acceptance level in terms of actually sharing about diabetes and helping other people understand where I was, and how I felt never really, I didn’t come to terms with that for a really long time. Maybe 20 years, a really, really long time. It took until I met my wife in 2009, to really start talking about it, and sharing with people what it was like. Yeah, but until then, I kind of felt, you just don’t need to know. Because then you might ask me questions. And then you might feel sorry for me, and I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. And I never really grasped how it could impact people, done well. And I really only conceived the negative implications that I had on me and the stigma that having an illness carries with it in the general scheme of things.
And was it one kind of event in general? Or was it just meeting your wife and talking about it more and then realizing it over time? Or was there something that happened? Because sometimes people go through things and they think, wow, this can really help a lot of people if I share it.
Yeah. Actually, the wife part was more accepting just talking to close people, that are closer friends, because I wouldn’t even show my friends that I was taking insulin when we were going out and things like that. It was quite hidden at the time. And then talking to my wife was the first time I’d really expressed how diabetes really affects me and what I need to do to control it and elements like that. But then it was probably only five years ago that I started talking about it. Maybe 2016 actually, where I started talking about it openly and it was triathlon that actually got me talking about it. Because with triathlons, there’s lots of inspirational people in and around triathlon, or let’s call it an Ironman community, where they do this crazy long triathlon. And people find themselves. Another thing, that’s what I kind of did, I realized that there was a community here where I could help them understand that diabetes doesn’t have to stop you doing things. Previously, I’ve done things I’ve just told people, I had diabetes. So I learned to skydive. And I didn’t tell anyone, which was a stupid thing to do. But I was too afraid. I was too afraid somebody would reject me and not allow me to do what I was wanting to do. Even though I knew the boundaries, knew how to manage it, knew what to look for, knew what blood sugars needed to be before we went up in the airplane. Knew all of those things, that fear that somebody would take the opportunity away from me, stopped me from talking about it. And then the triathlon journey really, really started to open my eyes that actually this is nothing more than just an opportunity to help people understand that. It’s not, it’s difficult to live with. But I have controls when living healthfully that are directly in my focus, I have no choice, but to think about my health every single day. And I look at many people around the world now, globally, in my office even, that don’t take health seriously. And that’s across many places. I’ve been in the last five, five or six years and that theme really started to resonate a lot and how I could help people become healthier, and how I could share my story that hopefully that they would grab hold of and say you know what, this isn’t impossible, we can do this, we just need to make some basic changes, or look at things slightly with a slightly different lens. And which is often the way I try to look at the world.
I love that. There’s so much within there that you said, that’s inspiring. And I have so many questions. And the first thing is that telling someone about diabetes versus jumping out of a plane was more frightening to you. That’s one observation.
Yeah, well …. I mean I do manage risk, a lot. So I’m continually looking at where the risk is, that’s no longer controllable in my current abilities, or current skill sets. And I just felt that I could control my diabetes well enough that I didn’t need to tell anyone for the sake of, you know, 12 years ago, learning to skydive, diabetes was still one of those things where the doctors would reject you, nevermind the actual skydiving zones. So I chose to do something I don’t advise anyone to do. And I would never advocate this, again, is that I just didn’t tell anybody. And I ticked the other box on the form. And I carried on because… and that was driven not because I was afraid of telling people, I was afraid of the fear of not being allowed to do it.
Yeah, there’s nothing worse than someone telling you No. I even saw that in my son when he was four or five years old. He was afraid that he would be left out. Or someone to tell you no, or as a parent, someone to tell your kid no, when you know that they’re able and healthy and they can do it. There’s nothing more infuriating so I get that. But yes, if you’re listening, you don’t have to tell everybody but I think on a need to know basis like if your child’s going to university and they have a roommate, your roommate should probably know that they have Type 1 and kind of how to help if needed, or if you are doing something like skydiving you know? It’s you know, there’s a hypo or hyper. I’m not sure about skydiving, I assume blood sugars go up from adrenaline…
You could get a mixture of both, really, but what I would, in my new way of thinking in the world, I’d advocate not not telling anybody and being open with as many people as you possibly can be. Because what my realization from all of this is there are no real boundaries to what we can do. Now there are, you know, there are things that becoming an airline pilot, clearly, there are things that we can’t absolutely fully control. And being in control of the lives of 250 people for eight hours, is something that we can’t absolutely say we have full control over. So fair enough, we can’t become commercial airline pilots. However, jumping out of an airplane, which takes 15 minutes from top to bottom, where we have controllable variables. There is no reason not to talk to somebody and tell them because we are allowed to actually do it. We just need to make sure that we tick all the right boxes, and we talk to the right people and they are comfortable that we know what we’re doing. And the fears I had should never have existed. They shouldn’t exist today. Certainly the world has moved on in terms of diabetes space, in terms of what people are able to do. Now there are diabetics that are skydiving, good ones at that. Yeah. I would say yeah, don’t lie. Yeah, I should never have done it. And I’m telling people about it more because, not because I think it was the right thing to do. It’s more because I want to talk about the fear that existed within me. Looking back, it was like you idiot, why? That’s the stupidest thing. But it was real at the time. It was really real. And I felt the reality of it. But really, when I think back and think about what I was doing and where I was at the time, it was like, if I had just had people to talk to, I might have done something different. I might have managed the situation differently. And that’s what I would advocate now as a diabetic, Type 1 or Type 2, is to talk to a confidant whether it’s a coach, whether it’s another diabetic mentor, whether it’s your doctor, whether it’s your endocrinologist, parents, your brothers, sisters, whatever your best friends, talk about it. And those fears will often fall by the wayside. As the world opens up to you, instead of being so narrowly focused, which is what tended to happen to me in those times. I was so focused on just becoming a skydiver. I ignored all of the things that I should have been thinking about, and risk managing, which is what this is about. It’s about managing risk, managing a condition for the rest of our life. So talking to people would have helped me do that. And I just didn’t see it at the time. I just wish I’d have seen it at the time differently. But now talking about it.
Amazing. So how did you get involved in triathlons?
So we moved to Singapore, and I started a new job. Living in Singapore’s really awkward. Where we lived, we had to get a bus journey from the condo to the train station and the train to the office. Now for most people that would feel like that’s not a problem. However, when you’ve grown up and lived all your life driving door to door, that becomes difficult. And I met one of the guys at the office, he rode to work – cycled. So I started cycling from home to the office. The guy that was in the office, cycled in a cycling team, and I got to join the cycling team. And one day through a contact I met in the cycling team, I went for a ride with a guy who had an Ironman tattoo. This was February 2016, I remember it vividly, we’re at a petrol station in a place called Pongal in Singapore, and I said to him, Where did you do your Ironman? I’m really interested. And he goes, Aah, just started talking about it, my wife and I are going to Putrajaya in Malaysia in eight weeks’ time. You should come along. I’m like, what? ah yeah you’ll be fine. I said, you think I’m fit enough? And he goes, yeah, you’ll be fine. It was a half Ironman, the distance was 70.3 miles of swim, bike and run. So not being particularly detail orientated. I just went, okay. So I went home, spoke to my wife and said, We’re gonna do a half Ironman. Bear in mind that I’d not swam for probably 12 years.
That was my first question because all the Iron men and women that I know, it’s swimming, that’s the biggest challenge. That was my first question. Were you swimming a lot?
No. We had a 50 meter pool in our condo. I hadn’t been swimming in it and we’d been there a year. I hadn’t swam for maybe 12–15 years, maybe even longer, and I’ve never really swam, I went to the pool with my friends and we played in the water. I remember swimming 50 meters once and being so out of breath, I had to get out. And this then became an eight week of we have to figure out how we’re going to go from zero to swimming two kilometers. So I started going down into the pool to start swimming. I have a video somewhere where I’m practicing my kick. So I have a kickboard in front of me. And I’m actually kicking and going backwards. That was quite amusing, because that should never happen.
Yeah, I don’t even know how that works.
It’s something to do with stiff ankles.
Okay, now I’m gonna try to do it. I’m really curious.
I’ll send you the video. It’s quite amusing. And then I did my first ever open water swimming practice with the two people I was going with. And it was across a beach. It was 500 meters long as this beach had two coves inside. So if I describe it, it is kind of one straight line and then to kind of half-moon coves. And we started swimming. And I’ve got my head down. And the next thing I’m touching sand. Wow. How am I that fast? So I then looked up. And what I’ve done is I’ve started going straight and immediately turned left without looking and I’d swung back into more or less where I’d started. I know it’s kind of going well. Okay, this is going to be a challenge. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to do this. So then I swam, then for the next seven weeks, I started swimming three times a weekend in the ocean, because it was near to where my office was. And I swam twice a week in the swimming pool as well. Just to try and figure out how I make it two kilometers without dying. And then literally about four days before the event, the two people that the whole reason I was going there for, they pulled out and left me and my wife to go alone. I knew nobody there. I had no idea what to expect. I literally, I was using this guy to hold his hand really to figure out what to do. So that was a case of okay I need to really work on this, and got thrown into the deep end. And we made an almighty amount of mistakes. You know, remember, look, I’ve got the pictures actually, I was looking at them the other day. And we’ve got pictures of my bike. I think I mentioned this to you before. Now I’ll do a half Ironman, and I’ll maybe eat two or three jelly sweets, just to keep my blood sugar afloat. And I’ll have some electrolytes. I had 60 seeded dates under my seat. And I had six bottles of water, with electrolytes and carbohydrates in the bottles. And I was only riding 90 kilometers. So it’s two hours, 45 minutes. And I had some other things on my bike as well, it was the heaviest thing in the world. And I don’t think I put my hands into the dates once. So it’s kind of okay, that’s another lesson. And then it was there was the half marathon run afterwards. And that was, you know, it was roughly 38 degrees, and 75% humidity. And I’d not really experienced those conditions, midday before and after doing that kind of level of exercise. So I ended up walking a lot of the way and then ended up on the drip after the event to try and rehydrate because I was being sick and I almost passed out. My blood sugars were fine. And it was one of those experiences. I said to my wife, I’m never doing this ever again, selling my bike. So what I did, is we got home, I sold my bike. I bought a new one, and I registered for an Ironman in December of the same year. So I didn’t give up. We carried on, we realized we made a few mistakes, we learn a whole load of lessons in terms of how to manage tension, anxiety, blood sugar, with that anxiety, yeah, and gone on leaps and bounds since then. And we’ve actually started to really achieve things from an athletics perspective. We’ve never called myself an athlete. In my past life. I was a footballer at best, not the best one in the world, but an OK one, a soccer if you’re American.
And to be honest then things started to get extreme. So we did the full Ironman in December 2016. A full Ironman is four kilometer swim, it’s 190 kilometer bike ride and it’s a marathon and we achieved a really good time for a first timer for 10 hours 37 minutes, I think it was, so a full a sub four hour marathon offer 35 kilometer an hour bike ride, and then for 180 kilometers and my swim actually wasn’t that bad. It’s only an hour and 15 minutes. In February, in the half Ironman, it took me 55 minutes to finish two kilometers. I then did a full Ironman swimming one hour 15. So the progress was incredible. And then we really started to see that endurance is possible, and going longer. It started with the bike really. We were personal friends with a guy who had done a race called Race Across America, which is 5000 kilometers 55,000 meters of climbing and you do it in 12 days maximum. And we started riding together and going on 200 – 300 kilometer rides. Then a small group of us did what we call the Vision Quest 1500. Which was raising money for Vision Quest, and from somewhere to Paquette and I can’t remember the place now, I’ll remember at some time, a reasonable destination. Yes, and that was 1500 kilometers and we did that in five days, five and a half days. And then the next one was an ultra triathlon. So we went to Australia and we did a three day triathlon, which culminates in a 10 kilometer swim, 145 kilometer bike ride on day one, then day two is a 275 kilometer bike ride. And then day three was two marathons back to back. And I was third last coming out of the water, and then sixth fastest coming off the bike. So it’s kind of like, swimming is still not very good.
Things can shift in triathlons because yeah, I think I mean, there’s so many exciting things about triathlons, and especially ultra ones and Ironman and things change so quickly. It’s not about like, who’s in first or last and I use the term loosely, like “I ran a marathon” and once I told my son when he was really really small? And he says, mommy, did you win? Like, definitely not if anything I finished last place because I got injured on the way in the whole other thing, you know, that happened the first time you do something. But yeah, the thing I love about it, it’s so exciting and you mentioned mistakes, but actually those are just learning curves and you know, better to be over prepared than to be not prepared and have to drop out and you just learn something new every time I guess.
Definitely something that links back to my diabetes, but also links back to the sport probably. It’s probably easier to describe to people as I’m a big believer in reflection, mistakes happen, mistakes, mistakes, and, you know, we’re all going to make them. We can’t protect everybody or anybody from a mistake. All we can do is make sure that we reflect on the things that the actions that we’ve done in the past and think about, could we have done them any better? Could we have done them any better? Or is there anything we could have done differently? Are there any skills? Are there any is there any knowledge we could have understood? Taken on board? So we could move, progress? And that’s all I’ve really done. It’s just thought back after, after everything I do.
I think back about what I learned, and what I learned about the experience, and I have this thing. It’s kind of a reflection framework. And I look at learning from four different perspectives. So how am I thinking about the situation? And that’s my first reflection point. My second reflection point was what were my behaviors on that, in that particular period when I’m working around that action. Then the third part of that reflection is around what was my environment like? Was I in the right environment for that thing that I was doing? And then the fourth part of that reflection phase, did I have the right tools to do the job that I wanted to do? And then what naturally comes out of that reflection, upon reflection on action, we’ll call it is that that generally, comes themes that fall out the outside that say, these are what you need to do next. Because you’ll have new insights, because you’re thinking about it from an internal perspective, an external perspective, a hard perspective. And often what people fail to do, they fail to represent what, what was in my control? How was I thinking about the situation? Which is where most of the time things go wrong. Because we get so stressed out, and so hyper focused on one thing, we lose sight of all the other things, and that can be represented in diabetes as well. And I think about how we manage and how we think about control, whether it’s about insulin management, whether it’s about calorie management, whether it’s about carbohydrate management, whether it’s about stress, exercise, holidays, whatever it might be. We can learn lots of lessons, and you learn to do it quicker and quicker over time. So now I don’t write anything down and just think it through.
I love that. I wrote it down, like even for myself, I’m like, this is amazing. So think about it. And I mean, yeah, mistakes are learning opportunities, you know, because sometimes if we say mistakes, some people can really beat themselves up, oh I shouldn’t have done that. And even as a parent, sometimes trying to, you know, it can be like an exam or something and just looking at it holistically, rather than, you know, what just only what happened or the final outcome, because there’s a process to take in.
Yeah. I try not to think about the why of a situation. So why did I do that? Because that doesn’t really help me, it just takes me into a spiral of negativity. And so what I’m actually looking at is what happened? And what could I do differently next time? What was I thinking at that particular time? And what are the things in my control that I can deal with? So for example, the environment of a triathlon, I can’t necessarily change the environment of the triathlon. I could choose a different race. But I can’t necessarily change that environment of that particular race.
No, and weather can change, especially on the swim, water and all kinds of things can happen, right?
Yeah. So that’s where we go, yes, it was the thinking part, a part to reflect on, there’s nothing I could do, move on. And then and then you take ownership for things and that’s when change really happens for you. And it certainly, that’s what’s happened with my diabetes as well. I’ve taken ownership of helping the world become a better place with diabetes in it, because I don’t think we’re getting away with this anytime soon. There are potential cures and things that people are talking about, you know, there’s some studies in Australia about stem cells and you know, rather than pancreas replacements and stuff like that, but I’d let the scientists deal with that. Those of us who are either connected to somebody with diabetes, or we have diabetes, manage what we can control, which is the food we put in our mouth, the amount of insulin we put in our body and the amount of exercise we do that surrounds it, and the amount of stress that we added to that idea. They’re the things we can control.
Exactly. And I always, it’s always heartbreaking when someone’s first diagnosed or a child is first diagnosed, because the first thing that happens is the mom or the parents are looking for the cure. Is there a cure? What’s in the research? and there’s a lot of good, like you said, stem cell research and other things that are happening. And even someone reached out recently, their second child was diagnosed with Type 1. And they’re asking about stem cell research, you know, should they do something? And it’s still too soon, even though there’s been massive improvements. And I decided very early on in my son’s diagnosis that our philosophy would be, yeah, we would love a cure, who wouldn’t? Everybody would, but we have this today. And we’re gonna live to the fullest today and do everything that we can well, with it, or without it, it doesn’t matter. I mean, it does require more attention. And it demands attention, actually. But it’s not going to stop us from doing anything. And we’re going to learn how to live with it and work it into, into our life otherwise, and you’re not really living with, you’re just waiting for the cure.
That’s it. And I think, how best to describe this without sounding like, it’s not something to worry about? Because it can be. I think diabetes isn’t the death sentence it was perceived to be many, many years ago. My parents knew some people with diabetes, you know, in the 30s, and 40s. And the prognosis for them was horrific. The prognosis for even me who was diagnosed 30 years ago, where technology and the way we deliver insulin and the types of insulin has changed dramatically. Even my prognosis is still quite long. You know, 70s, and I’m alright with that. Now, people who are being diagnosed at this time, management systems are so good. Why would life be any different?
I’m so glad you said that. Because I mean, in getting to do a podcast now, it just exasperates it even more. I have met the most amazing people because of diabetes, and they’re doing the most amazing things. And especially when it comes to athletics, it’s almost like it’s kind of the secret weapon, because you have another indicator that you know, when you’re achieving kind of optimal performance, when you’re eating well, sleeping well, and all of those things. But like you said, there is no reason that it should stop anyone, because we have all these examples yourself included before us, that are doing these superhuman things that people without diabetes are not able to do. So it’s such a challenging diagnosis. No doubt. I’m not trying to oversimplify it. And there’s a lot to deal with. But there’s also a very happy ending to the story. Should I say?
Yeah, absolutely. And I think what you’re doing is from a Diapoint perspective, I think the world needs more of it. Because we need to make more connections to help diabetics and diabetic families. At whatever age people are diagnosed from. Because you know, I’ve got a friend here that was diagnosed at 20. Sorry, 30. He’s 37. He’s got a wife and two kids, the two kids don’t understand. So there are lots of understanding elements that need to happen. And I think the more communication we do, to help people settle, because it’s easy to become hyper stressed about a situation and, you know, I’m sure we can all think back to a time where we’ve made a mountain out of a molehill. And I know that that’s a gross oversimplification of diabetes. But we often make a mountain out of a molehill. And this is where I think great conversations with both peers of diabetes, parents, and parent peers with diabetes and coaches like you that can really help and support people become more in tune with their diabetes and really bring their management to the forefront. Yeah. So it’s about managing, managing the alarms and figuring out what alarms work best for when? For everybody in the house.
So I want to jump to November’s coming. And you know, I have this, I have a lot of feelings around the month of November, because for you, for my son and everyone else living with diabetes, diabetes is every day, we don’t need a special month to remind us about it. But it’s a great time to do advocacy, education, talk about it, get people thinking about it in different ways. And actually the reason we met, someone sent me your video. You have a very interesting, exciting thing that you’re doing in the month of November. And so can you tell us some more about that, please?
Yeah. So we’re going to do a crazy, ultra triathlon over three days. And the reason we’re doing it is because I met or we’ve met, I met originally a parent who was having those troubles who just talked about, not sleeping, son wasn’t particularly caring about his situation. And I wanted to, I want to find a way that we can create a community of young diabetics that can talk and share experiences, and, you know, so they don’t feel the stigma of diabetes. And I wanted to create a community of parents as well that could share this, their strains and stresses and their worries that, you know, that blurred line might get sick, and from a complication. And then it was about creating communication structures that helped people manage the stress of diabetes, and actually help them give each other more control, with less control. So through providing autonomy and frameworks, they actually were more comfortable with each other, and the way each other we’re managing the situation. And one of the ways we thought we were trying to do that is we were trying to do something that was a bit crazy. So we’re going to do an ultra triathlon on the 18th, 19th and 20th of November, The event started out as a bike race. We were going to create a group of cyclists, we’re just diabetics. Then I met two guys here and a few other people in Singapore and Australia and the lady here as well. And then we just go well, why don’t we just do a triathlon? And make it an ultra triathlon? So on the 18th, we’re swimming 11 kilometers in the ocean. So we’ll start at Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, and we’ll swim out to the World Islands. And then we’ll swim back, and we’ll swim a little bit up and down the coast, just to finish it 11ks, sort of towards the canal and back, probably not that far. Then we’ll head up to Kalba and we’ll do 100 kilometers of cycling, then we’ll go home for some rest. And then the next day on the 19th, we’ll do what they call the coast to coast, which is an organized bicycle race from Sharjah to AlAqah. And it’s 215 kilometers.
And there’s quite an elevation there from what I understand as well. It’s not flat.
Between Red Rock, or what do they call it? Fossil Rock and Cober there are quite a few mountains. So their total elevation is about 1500 meters – 1600 meters, and over 215k. So it’s relatively flat as a cycle ride. But there is a portion of the ride that’s quite hilly. Which makes it difficult, so it’s right in the middle. Then on day three, we are going to run four marathons. So we’re going to run 168.8 kilometers. And our original plan for this was we’re going to run, so we’re going to cycle to Alaka and then we’re gonna run back. But because it became a logistical nightmare, because the roads aren’t really safe for travelling, at such a slow speed. And the fact that we want to make a big deal out of this to build awareness around Diabetes Awareness Month, and helping diabetics around the community. We thought, why take that kind of risk? Why don’t we do it somewhere where people can get involved, and we can keep it within local communities as well. So we’re going to run the first marathon in the springs, the meadows in the lakes area. We’re gonna run the second marathon around JLT, JBR, Marina, a bit on the palm. Then we’re gonna run the third marathon around the beach area, Al Barsha the beach, there’ll be a bit of crossing over the will do. And then we’ll do the fourth marathon around Naralsheba and Downtown. What we really love to do is when we finish the run, it would be amazing if we could have the Diabetes Awareness Month ribbon, or our logo on the Burj Khalifa.
Burj Khalifa people, if you’re listening.
Yeah, absolutely. Please help. If you can help?
Amar, Amar I think they have a lot to do with that.
I think so, yeah. And through the whole event, there are three words that really pull all this together. And the first one is community. The second one is communication. And the third one is health. So we want to build a big community that communicates really well together around being healthy for diabetes. And we’re taking those three words quite seriously in the event. So we’re all at different levels. And in terms of Sports Fitness, so Adam Holt and I are the two Type 1 Diabetics and we have another person that’s doing it with us. We’re all at different levels from a sporting perspective. And we’ve said that there are two rules. One be honest, when you can’t carry on, don’t drag us all down. If you really can’t finish, and you’re just procrastinating, be honest, make the difficult decision. And the second rule is, as long as we can keep going, we’re all staying together. And we’re going to communicate, we’re going to live healthy together for three days. Keep that whole ethos together. And hopefully from that, people understand the message that we’re trying to get out there. That it’s okay to talk about diabetes. It’s okay to tell people you have diabetes. Diabetes doesn’t create a boundary for you in anything, or certainly most things. And there are people there to talk to, if you want to talk to people as well. So yeah, that’s kind of what we’re doing. The run is the difficult bit. Day one and day two will be relatively, want for a better word, easy. But day three is a complete unknown. We don’t actually know, the furthest any of us have ever run into 100 kilometers. So whilst 164 marathons in my head is okay, just get through the first one, then we’ll do the second one, and then we’ll do the third one and be okay. Then I think about how I felt after the two marathons, I run together and think, wow, now I’m going to run another two. And I’ve had to, I’ve had to spend time thinking about how I’m going to get those thoughts out of my head and I had another guy who was thinking about doing it with us, and he just said he just couldn’t conceptualize what it was going to be like. And I kept saying to him, don’t, because we can’t figure it out, it’s impossible. We’ll only know when we experience it for the first time. And that’s why the community piece is so important. Because when we desperately need each other, we’re going to be there for each other. Because we have no idea what’s around the corner. And that’s just like diabetes, especially when you’ve been newly diagnosed, you don’t know what’s around the corner, and you need a group of people with you, who can help and support you along that really scary journey. Which really is scary when you’re trying out new things, and you’ve never heard of it before, and all that kind of stuff. So that’s where we’re trying to get to, and we’d like it to become something for the future we’d like to carry on doing crazy things after this as well. And well not crazy things. I just think that people with diabetes, these are things they’re quite rightly able to do, you know, all I need to do differently to a normal person is manage my blood sugar. My body still works the same.
But it is an amazing, amazing, amazing vision. And we’ll put as much as we can that we have now in the links in the show notes. And then I think as more details roll out, because I’m sure that there’s people that would love to, particularly on the day of the run, come out. See you, be there like we talked to maybe run with you for a bit and whatever else that we can do to get people up to support. So as much information as we can, we’ll put it out in the show notes, or we’ll put it out in other ways on the Diapoint website and social media as it develops.
I’ll share with you the running route that we’ve planned, because what would be absolutely amazing for anybody that’s listening. If we could get a number of Type 1 Diabetic kids, to come along and do some portions of the run with us, where we can share experiences, we can talk to each other, we can answer any questions they’ve got, even if their parents want to come along as well and do the running with them. And we can create a real community around it, it certainly won’t be a fast run. It could be a run/walk. And yeah, that would be incredible, that would be inspiring for us to help us get through the run at the same time, as we’re hopefully going to help people change their lives.
That would be amazing. And actually, as you’ve been talking about it, even though I heard about it before, and now I have a few other people that I want to reach out to, see if they can get involved. And then I think they’d love to support and they’d be interested. It’s truly amazing. And it’s inspiring. And I think it also gives us so much hope for the future. And just what’s possible, nothing, nothing is impossible. If you’re doing all of these things with diabetes, there’s nothing that’s impossible.
I think about it, when it comes to me as a body taking, thinking about me being mean, how do I best describe this? Because you use the commercial airline pilot as a description before it’s something that’s probably not possible, because you risk the risk of you having a problem. And that, in falling on, is something that we have to accept, unless things change, we just can’t do those things. But where it’s me, and I’m in control, and I’m taking the risks for me as my body, then I manage those things. And there are no boundaries, I honestly don’t see that there are boundaries in that, in that realm, I just need to make sure that I have a team of people around me who are. So my wife in my Ultra Triathlon, before my wife would be constantly checking my blood sugar for me, and throwing me Snickers bars or Mars bars, as she was seeing the trending going down. So we’re continually working together as a team to manage. So yeah, we’ve just managing, yeah, I just can’t stress enough, this piece about there is nothing in the way of living a normal life, there’s just a few, a few other bits that you need to do.
Amazing. Well, thank you so much for joining me for this hour, so that we’ve had a chance to learn more about your amazing athletic abilities. But also the wisdom that you’ve brought to us. I think it is something so important for people to listen to and understand. And I hope that if you are in Dubai or in the UAE, that you can come out for one of these days or all of them on the 18th, 19th ,20th you can look to the Diapoint site for where to find more information about that we’ll be sharing it. Also we’ll have Nick’s social media links in the show notes as well. So you can follow Nick, or if you have any questions, drop us an email at email@example.com and we will pass all of that on directly to Nick so you can follow up with him. And we’re just happy to be a part of this journey. We’re so excited and we’re looking forward to it.
I’m gonna say just kind of, from my perspective, meeting you is the best thing that’s happened to this challenge, as well. And this thing that we want to do, we finally met someone that actually has the health of the diabetes community at the center of what they do. And that to us, as a set of athletes is really, really important. So we want to thank you as well for coming along on the journey with us.
Thank you. That’s that’s really special because that that is why I do what I do. And that is why Diapoint does what it does. And sometimes I can’t believe the people that have joined my team, but because that that is what we do. First and foremost, we you know, want to help people we want to support people. We want people to be inspired and do all of these things that we’re told weren’t possible with diabetes. It baffles me how many people still, even though we have all of these success stories, but people still see it as something they should hide or something that they can’t do the things that they love doing because of it. So we’re just really happy to be a part of it. Thank you for that.
Thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed this episode and learning more about Nick Glover and all the things that he’s been able to accomplish and all the things that he’s planning to accomplish. We are so looking forward to supporting him throughout this challenge in November. And as he shares the routes and the details of the plans with us, we will also share those on the Diapoint social media. And we’ll add those links back later to this podcast as well. And we’ll keep you up to date on all the details as they roll out. I want to again thank Nick for joining us and sharing his insight and wisdom and his vision for people with diabetes. If you’ve been listening to the podcast and you’ve been enjoying it, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast channel. This really helps us to continue doing what we’re doing. I also want to always remind everyone if you hear about someone managing their diabetes a certain way in an interview that we do, please don’t forget to go ask your doctor about your specific diabetes management. As we all know, no two people with diabetes are alike. And sometimes what works for one person may not work for another person. Any time before you are going to start doing sports, or if you’re planning to do a really super challenging endurance challenge, please check in with your medical team so that they can give you the advice and support that you need as you do this. Don’t forget to surround yourself with people who are supportive and can be there with you on the way.
Show Notes and Links
Disclaimer: It should go without saying that the Diapoint podcast is not intended as or should not be used as personal medical advice. You will hear us interview medical experts and others, but please always always ask your qualified doctor, diabetes team or other expert about your health. What works for one person does not always work for another person. What you should always do when you discover any new health information is ask YOUR doctor about it. This information should empower you to have a discussion with your healthcare providers about it. Diapoint, our guests, sponsors and business partners are not here to replace that advice. Living a full, healthy life means taking the proper medical advice from your qualified physicians, diabetes team or other healthcare providers.
This episode of Dia-Logue: The Diapoint Podcast is brought to you by the Diapoint November Challenge.
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About Dia-Logue: The Diapoint Podcast and Pamela Durant
Here at Dia-logue: The Diapoint Podcast, we talk to experts and people living with diabetes about social situations, nutrition, mental health, travel, and many other topics related to health and wellness.
The Founder & Managing Director of Diapoint, Pam Durant, shares her experience as the mother a teenage son who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at 20 months old.
Pam was also a healthcare manager for 25+ years, and is a certified Wellness and Lifestyle Medicine coach. She is passionate about showing people how to not just survive, but thrive.
If you are interested in appearing as a guest, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your story and your connection to diabetes.
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