Conquering the Cape Wrath Ultra: A Diabetic Runner's Journey

As the dawn of 2024 unfolds, I find myself standing at the threshold of another extraordinary challenge – the Cape Wrath Ultra race which will take place from the 19th to the 26th of May, 2024.

This gruelling multi-stage race, set against the breathtaking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands, beckons adventurers and athletes from around the world. However, my journey carries an additional layer of complexity, one that I’ve embraced wholeheartedly: the mission to raise awareness about living and running with type 1 diabetes.

Last year I conquered a lifelong dream – the Marathon des Sables. 

This multi-stage 7-day, self-supported, race across the Sahara Desert was perhaps one of the toughest things I have done, in temperatures exceeding 50 degrees Celsius, whilst managing diabetes and all the challenges associated with enduring life in the desert for a week.

Cape Wrath Ultra - Scotland's Expedition Race logo

Pushing The Boundaries

The path to the Cape Wrath Ultra so far hasn’t been paved with ease. Managing diabetes requires constant vigilance, but it has also moulded me into a resilient and determined individual.

This race isn’t just about conquering the rugged terrain and enduring the unpredictable Scottish weather; it’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s considered possible for those living with diabetes.

I have had a tough Autumn of 2023.  I have spent the latter stages of 2023 recovering from, in all likelihood, REDS (relative energy deficiency syndrome, aka over training), a hip stress fracture and some mental health issues.

But I now feel like I am healing, both physically and mentally, and can embrace what 2024 holds.

The Route from Fort William to Cape Wrath, 400km over the Scottish Highlands

The Route from Fort William to Cape Wrath, 400km over the Scottish Highlands

Training for such an arduous race, such as the Cape Wrath Ultra, while balancing blood sugar levels demands meticulous planning and unwavering dedication.

Every step I take during my training echoes the rhythm of countless others living with diabetes, facing challenges head-on and refusing to be defined by their condition. I have been caught out on numerous occasions but each of those occasions is an opportunity to learn.

Amplify the message that diabetes doesn’t restrict us.

As I prepare to navigate the treacherous landscapes of the Cape Wrath Ultra, I am fuelled not only by the physical endurance required but also by the profound purpose of advocating for those who share my journey with type 1 diabetes. Through every stride, I aim to amplify the message that diabetes doesn’t restrict us; rather, it empowers us to shatter preconceived limitations.

Beyond the personal triumphs that await me at the finish line, my quest extends to the broader mission of dispelling myths surrounding diabetes. I carry with me the torch of awareness, shedding light on the realities of living with this condition and emphasizing that it’s possible to lead an active and fulfilling life.

The Beautiful Scottish Highlands

The Beautiful Scottish Highlands

Platform For Change

In a world where misconceptions persist, the Cape Wrath Ultra becomes not only a physical challenge but another platform for change.

By sharing my experiences, I hope to inspire others to pursue their dreams, regardless of the obstacles they face. Diabetes is not a roadblock; it’s a detour that can lead to unexpected vistas of strength and resilience.

As I lace up my running shoes for yet another training run and begin the long process of preparing to face the daunting landscapes of the Cape Wrath Ultra, I invite you to join me on this transformative journey.

Together, let’s break down barriers, challenge perceptions, and prove that living and running with type 1 diabetes is not just a feat – it’s an extraordinary adventure that knows no bounds.

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