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December 13, 1999

Exercise and Sports

Question from London, UK:

I am 26 and have been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes for 3 years. I have run 3 marathons and would like to know if there has been a fastest time set by a diabetic and how competitive runners managed their sugar levels during a race.


From: DTeam Staff

The British Diabetic Association may be able to supply you with the information you request. Having heard of a few marathon runners with diabetes, I know that there are a number of different ways to tackle the problem. Some take only tiny amounts of insulin and don’t eat too much carbohydrate during the event. Others continuously suck DextroEnergy (glucose) tablets throughout the event. If you have run a marathon since developing diabetes then perhaps you should tell Children with Diabetes what method you used and how you got on.

If not, then I suggest that you should experiment with different methods and keep careful records as you build up your training distances so that you will be able to work out what suits you best.

Additional comments from Dr. Deeb:

I don’t know about times, but I do know that the individuals that I have seen run distances use a fanny pak with carbs in it to keep things level. Our dietitian is getting a team ready for the American Diabetes Association Marathons (yes, ADA sponsors teams at several big marathons, London included, every year). For more information, contact the American Diabetes Association.

Additional comments from Stephanie Schwartz, diabetes nurse specialist:

Contact the International Diabetic Athletes Association (1647-B West Bethany Home Road, Phoenix, AZ 85015, (800) 898-IDAA or (602) 433-2113). (Their website is http://www.diabetes-exercise.org/.) They’ll know.