Roddy Riddle Marathon Des Sables 2013

The signs of my Type 1 Diabetes had been there a while, though I didn’t know that. All of a sudden I began having health issues: severe weight loss – three stone in about 6 weeks; I had an unquenchable thirst; I was never out of the toilet; I was extremely tired; and my eyesight seemed to be deteriorating.

Unusually, it was a year in which I actually had no sporting goals. I was a family man, with two children and another one on the way. But when I went to see my doctor, and explained my symptoms, he immediately referred me to the hospital. A sign of how oblivious I was to my true state of health was that I cycled there.

One of the first things they told me, once they had diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes, was that my fitness had kept me going. Because I was in a bad way: my blood glucose level that day was 45.6mml/L. A person without diabetes is between 4 and 7mmol/L.

The clinic staff were superb. They weren’t keen for me to start running or cycling at first, but after two months I was able to build my fitness back up. It was this training that led me to do the Marathon des Sables, and now the Arctic Ice Ultra Marathon.