Let me introduce myself to you properly. As you may know, my name is Charlotte, I’m 41, and I have an amazing life surrounded by family and friends and live on my own with my two four-legged best friends, Elmo and Dottie.
I live with type 1 diabetes, diagnosed when I was 28 years old, in 2008, when I was arguably at my fittest, regularly competing in triathlons and had just entered an Ironman. So, as you can imagine, this knocked me sideways and took me a long time to get my head around. I was angry for 10 years, I never let it stop me doing anything, but I didn’t manage it very well.
I moved away and lived in France for a couple of years, worked in London for 6 months for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games and then spent 4 months in Qatar on a further contract. After that I spent 6 years in Southern Ireland and finally came back ‘home’ in 2018. It was only at this point that signed up to the DAFNE (dose adjusting for normal eating) course for Type 1 diabetics, that the professionals had been trying to get me on since being diagnosed in 2008 and met the wonderful and incredible team that now supports me.
My diabetes specialist nurse is nothing short of amazing and she is constantly striving to help me get my hands on the latest and most suitable technology for my needs. I currently manage my diabetes with the Freestyle Libre system and Omnipod Dash Insulin pump. I am also under the wonderful professionals at the Exercise for Type 1 Diabetes (ExTOD) team at the QE in Birmingham. They are a fabulous wealth of knowledge and experience collectively which means I would really struggle without them.
I also regularly see a Functional Health specialist who has turned my life around. He discovered my lifelong gluten intolerance and has supported me in detoxing my body and getting off my medications for another diagnosed condition, Psoriatic arthritis, a type of rheumatoid arthritis. Previously, without my medications, I was unable to walk. So, to be drug free, and running the mileage I am, is nothing short of incredible. It’s too late to repair the damage to my pancreas and reverse the type 1 diabetes, but managing it, optimising my health and being as fit and healthy as possible make it far easier to manage, with minimal complications as possible.
I was very lucky to experience an idyllic childhood, surrounded by ponies, horses, dogs, a few sheep, turkeys and the odd cow. In my younger years, it was all about showing our ponies and this is where my love of horses stemmed from.
I could always be found on a hockey pitch, netball court, tennis court, in a swimming pool or athletics field. I played on most teams for the schools I attended. This is certainly where my love of sports started, and this is something that I still hold dear to my heart—both in partaking in sports, and watching and following most, if not all, sporting events.
I was lucky enough to get a ballot place in the London Marathon in 2021, which was the postponed event from April 2020. An on-and-off training regime over the COVID period finally came to fruition in 2021. I had an incredible experience running in London, and the event’s buzz was addictive.
Following from London, with a friend I ran across Hadrian’s Wall, East to West, over 3 days. We did 88 miles, in restricted daylight hours, picking our way through the most spectacular scenery. I absolutely loved this and thought, what a wonderful way of seeing the country and the world!
I took a break from running at the end of 2021 and in January 2022 I went to the Running Expo at the NEC to catch up with a couple of suppliers for work and to also search for some inspiration. And boy, did I find it!
I bumped into Kevin Webber and got chatting. Kevin sold me his book, Dead Man Running, which I can highly recommend. Having run the Marathon Des Sables five times, whilst on chemo for terminal prostate cancer, he completely inspired me to sign up. I owe him a huge thank you. This incredible man continues to raise a vast amount of money for charity and push himself to complete awe-inspiring challenges. A role model and idol certainly for me, and I’m sure for many others.
So, race entered in January 2022 and now in July training is in full swing. I look forward to sharing my journey with you as I progress to the start line and beyond of the Marathon des Sables in April 2023.