Andrew, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2014 is taking on the London Marathon 2019 to show that anything really is possible.
By the time I take on the London Marathon next year, it will be five years since I had that fateful phone call with my GP to tell me I had Type 2 diabetes.. At the time, I weighed 26 stone, was inactive and spent most of my weekends sleeping. My GP was very straight up with me saying that diabetes, even well managed would more than likely cut 1/3rd off my life expectancy, especially combined with my weight and family history. Since i was already north of 30 with an average lifespan of 75, the maths weren't hard to do. If I did nothing, i wouldn't have much more than 15 years left, That should be enough to scare anyone straight.
"To me it was a major wake up call that something had gone incredibly wrong in my life and needed changing"
I had to beg my GP to not put me on Metformin- with a HbA1c level of 79, that was rather difficult. I knew I was on my last chance and my GP signposted me to find resources on the Diabetes UK website to help bring my HbA1c levels back to normal. Once I'd decided to lose weight and try and rid myself of the Type 2 diabetes I had in essence, bought upon myself, I spent the first 12-18 months simply changing diet, and some light exercise. After 18 months, i was down to 18-19 stone and felt comfortable doing more exercise- certainly more than a brisk walk.
"i decided to try and run a 5k"
Even though i was quite active as a youngster, running was one of the things i was never good. I needed to set myself a challenge and found Run in the Dark for Manchester as i felt I'd like to do a special run rather than complete a 5k run. With 14 weeks to go until race day, I did the Couch to 5k program on a treadmill in my local gym and got myself prepared for the run. As I trained for it, I got more and more embroiled in it. I just wanted to keep exploring what I could do and suddenly I wasn't running because I just had challenge in front of me, I was running because I wanted to.I knew once I'd done this it wouldn't be my last run. During the challenge, i had sore knees, because i tripped and fell after about 200 yards. But i picked myself up and completed the run in 30:12
"I'd suddenly become ambitious. I was discovering new capabilities almost every day, discovering I was stronger faster and more resilient that ever."
After my 5k run, I joined my local running club and met some absolutely wonderful people, which has coincidentally allowed me to come out of somewhat of a self-imposed shell I was living in for years. This gave me an opportunity not only to improve my running and meet people.
"You find out what you're really capable of and then you just want more."
My mind was now firing constantly and all the fatigue I'd had before was gone. I was not getting up at 7am on a weekend naturally and going out running. It even started having effects on my job and career as it's amazing how much your personality changes and that people around you get to see the real you. After I completed a half marathon,I knew there was only one place to go and that was the London Marathon.I entered the ballot but i also applied for a charity place with Diabetes UK and was incredibly grateful to be accepted. When the London Marathon comes along, it will be almost five years since I was diagnosed. I chose Diabetes UK to raise awareness of the condition that would eventually claim my life. I want to start paying back in come small way for all the help I have been given. My story is scarcely believable and I'm sure after the London Marathon, it will matter even more. I've been given a second chance and I'm not going to waste it. I want as many people as possible to be given the same chance i had. Everyone deserves at least one fresh start - maybe then we can all make the most of it.
If you would like to take on a running challenge with Team Diabetes UK, hit the link below.