A Unique Opportunity: Looking In-Depth at the Marathon Study


This year, Beyond Type Run is breaking ground on more than ever before. Several members of the 2019 Beyond Type Run Team are participants in a research study that looks at the impact of training and running a marathon on blood glucose variability. The study, “Patient Experiences Managing Type 1 Diabetes In Marathon Training and Recovery,” is a joint partnership between Beyond Type 1, T1D Exchange and Tidepool. Beyond Type 1 spoke to T1D Exchange research lead Allyson Hughes, PhD about the potential impact of the study. Allyson is a health psychologist who also lives with type 1 diabetes.

The research plan

The methodology of the marathon study involves looking at athletes with type 1 diabetes and gauging a number of variables. Researchers at T1D Exchange are attempting to understand what marathon training and post-marathon recovery look like for those with type 1 diabetes (T1D).

Having this team of people with type 1 diabetes all in one place has the potential for larger impact. The team at T1D Exchange is seasoned when it comes to researching people living with type 1 diabetes. As Allyson puts it, “We have completed a few studies pairing surveys and continuous glucose monitor (CGM). So this is becoming our specialty—we’re able to pair surveys with data and do it in a cool, effective way.”

A personal connection

Allyson Hughes is no stranger to the ins and outs of type 1 as she has lived with the disease for the last 24 years. She says, “I was diagnosed in 1995. I was in first grade and it was before the Internet and before I could just go on to Beyond Type 1 or T1D Exchange Glu and find an answer… At the end of the day, I always wanted more information and I wasn’t able to get it. I didn’t have the resources.”

Allyson and her team seek to also help make things more accessible for those who might not be as tapped into the technological side of type 1. She tries to think of everything she encounters in terms of how she would want it explained to her or how she might explain it to one of her family members. It’s this same type of attention to detail that makes the work T1D Exchange is doing easy to comprehend.

Why it matters

The emergence of studies like this will help inform the lives of others with type 1 diabetes looking for more information about endurance sports and possible effects on blood sugars. There’s immediate potential for the results of this study to directly impact the lives of others with T1D. The data gained will also likely underscore the importance of CGM technology as the new standard of diabetes care.

“The goal here is we’ll be able to say here’s what works and here’s what doesn’t work and inform policy,” says Allyson. “This partnership is a great one because we can combine forces in the community and we’re going to be able to help people… When I see projects like this, I think, ‘How can we share this with people so they can benefit from this?’ My way of advocating is by doing research and my power is my data.”

Learn more about the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon Beyond Type Run team here.

The 2019 Beyond Type Run Team running the TCS New York City Marathon is sponsored by Dexcom and Tandem Diabetes Care.

WRITTEN BY Jordan Dakin, POSTED 09/30/19, UPDATED 11/14/22

Jordan recently graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles after earning her BA in English and film studies. She is a passionate storyteller, traveler and lover of people and hopes to use her experience working in tech and as a writer to advocate for the BT1 community. In her spare time, she also enjoys hiking, karaoke and cooking for friends. Check her out on Instagram: @jordanemilydakin.