In 2016 Thomas Cufley ran the London Marathon as he has always wanted to complete the challenge since being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2012. He has been really keen to show people recently diagnosed what you can achieve and has taken on several events to prove nothing is impossible.
Below Tom explains in his own words why he chose to run for Diabetes UK and why anyone can take on the challenge.
What made you run for Diabetes UK?
As a Type 1 diabetic the choice of who to run my marathons for was an easy one, the help and support I was able to get from Diabetes UK when I was first diagnosed five years ago was incredible and easy to access. To be able to raise money for them to enable them to help other diabetics was a great incentive for me as well as raising awareness that diabetes doesn't need to stop anyone from achieving their dreams or taking on and accomplishing and challenge they want to do.
How has diabetes UK helped you since being diagnosed?
When I was diagnosed five years ago I initially struggled to get my head around all the ways my diabetes would be affected by things such as exercise, the weather and illness. The articles and literary items available on the website really helped me to understand my condition better and move forward with my life in a healthier way that I was living before my diagnosis
What would you say to someone who has diabetes but feel they couldn’t take on the challenge?
Impossible is nothing! Sugars will fluctuate, you'll doubt yourself, you'll make excuses that I've had low/high sugar today so I can't run but, you can, you can do anything you want, you run diabetes, diabetes doesn't run your life!
How do your friends and family feel about you taking on the challenge?
At first close family and friends worried that I wouldn't be able to do it due to my diabetes and what if I had a hypo on the day would it stop me finishing, the Berlin marathon proved that would not be the case! However they saw that with the right training approach and sensible eating before, during and after a run that there is nothing about diabetes that stops you exercising to your maximum potential and that their fears were unfounded.
Have you got any top tips on managing your blood glucose levels whilst training and during the marathon?
On the two marathons I have run I have found that making sure in the 3 days leading up to the race that my sugars are keep very well controlled whilst making sure I am eating plenty of the right carbohydrates to fuel me for the marathon. During the running it is hard to say exactly what each diabetic should do as we are all different. what worked for me in London was to have a double bowl of porridge, bottle of Lucozade sport and a banana for breakfast, making sure I check my sugars immediately after and an hour before I run to check I wasn't too high or low pre-race and adjust depending on my own remedies, during the race is more difficult unless you want to carry your testing kit with you. However I found that 2-3 jelly babies per mile kept my sugars in check and where I wanted them to be, unfortunately for myself in Berlin, it was a lot hotter than London and therefore at mile 19-20 I had a hypo due to the heat and had to stop for a few minutes, treat the hypo and then continue. So I would recommend if the temperature is hotter to adjusting that to 3-4 jelly babies, I would also recommend the same when training and the temperatures are lower.
What did you hope to achieve by taking on this challenge?
i hoped to inspire other diabetics to take on physical challenges and help prove to the world and mainly young diabetics that anything is possible and that diabetes doesn't need to run your life, you are in control of it and you are capable of anything your heart desires.
What’s the one thing you would say to someone who’s considering running the marathon for Diabetes UK but hasn’t taken the plunge?
We run diabetes, diabetes doesn't run us! I dare you to do it and not let it change your life and attitude towards our condition
How did you feel about the support that the events team at Diabetes UK gave you with the London Marathon?
The support from Anna and all the team is amazing, the regular updates can really help with training when you might be feeling low and doubting yourself. The Facebook group is excellent and any runners I would make sure to get on there and get inspired by other people’s stories and reasons for running for #TeamDuk. I myself was massively inspired by some of the previous runners and marathon runners from my year and we all came together to support each other. The only criticism would be the training day having a part devoted to diabetics running and the challenges we will face.
If you’ve been lucky enough to get a place in this years London Marathon and Tom’s story has inspired you we’d love to have you to join TeamDUK.Sign uptoday.