Beyond Type Run Marathon Day
11/8/17
WRITTEN BY: Katie Doyle
PHOTOGRAPHY: Katie Doyle
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This year’s highly anticipated TCS New York City Marathon did not disappoint — especially for the 17 Beyond Type Run athletes sponsored by Medtronic and their entourage of encouraging fans!

Meeting at brunch before the race, team members shared how they approached some of the challenges that came their way, like training, diabetes management, the weather, and a lot of Instagramming to keep up with, to name a few.

Team captain Robin Arzón followed her pre-race ritual, which involves checking out of social media.

“The cheers are encouraging, but sometimes it ramps me up when I should be zen-ing out,” Robin said. “It’s actually really nice to cross the finish line and then read all of the well-wishes afterwards, ’cause you have the medal, you succeeded in the accomplishment, and you’re feeling the love from all of your friends and virtual training partners.”

“I also have a visualization practice — it’s a monologue taking you through all of the successful moments in a marathon and visualizing yourself crossing the finish line. Nerves mean you care. Fear means you care. You have to know how to redirect [those feelings], and it’s that meditation that happens for me in the mental side of the sport,” Robin added. “My mantra is I am on race day, so I do a whole meditation thing and I light incense and I have a little private moment, because once you get to Staten Island, you have a few hours of feeling that nervous energy.”

Stephanie Kahn’s pre-race inspiration came from a chance meeting with another runner with Type 1 at the marathon expo center in Central Park.

“She saw the logo on my jacket and she gave me the biggest hug and started tearing up. She’d run marathons before, so seeing that reaction made me feel like we were really doing something that means a lot to people, whether they never thought they could run a marathon or if they run marathons all the time.”

Race day brought clouds and drizzly rain, but that didn’t seem to affect the stream of positive energy that packed the streets from Staten Island to the Bronx. Some of that energy came from unexpected race day guests: first-time marathon runner Marci Tatham announced that she was running for two!

“It’s extra special because we found out like two weeks ago: I’m six weeks pregnant, and I have my first ultrasound the day after the marathon,” Marci said. “The pressure’s off because I’m just going to enjoy it more and not worry about my pace. Some day I can tell my child, ‘You ran my first [marathon] with me!”

Anne Albers has run several marathons, but she took a different approach toward this one. Anne worked with Neely Gracey, an elite runner and coach, to create a training plan that fit with her busy schedule as a mom, cardiologist, and woman living with Type 1. It helped that her family was on board with her marathon training!

“For my 18-mile run, my 16-year-old son rode a bike with a basket that had my Gatorade, my glucometer, my water, and he was with me for 18 miles,” Anne said. “It was a very hot day — it was a brutal run, actually — and he was like, ‘Come on, Mom! You got it!’”

Sunday’s conditions were the opposite of those during Anne’s long run, but the rain didn’t deter spectators from using the marathon app to track (and follow) their loved ones across the five boroughs. After the Beyond Type Run team passed the Mile 8 cheering section in Brooklyn, which was led by Beyond Type 1 Global Ambassador Libby Russell, fans scattered across the city to continue cheering at stops along the way, including Mile 17 on the Upper East Side and Mile 24 in Central Park.

After navigating through crowds, skirting around closed streets, and dodging raindrops, the dedicated support squads finally reunited with the runners after they crossed the finish line.

In the end, it looked like everything that could have happened on race day ended up happening: failed sensors, displaced sites (Mary Lucas experienced both!), high blood sugars, low blood sugars, trips to the medical tent — but overcoming those diabetes-specific challenges to complete something as prolific as the New York City Marathon was exactly why Medtronic was interested in sponsoring the Beyond Type Run team in the first place.

“It’s been a great partnership,” said Louis Dias, Medtronic’s Chief Patient Officer, of the company’s sponsorship of the Beyond Type Run team during a pre-race Facebook Live broadcast on Saturday. “We thought this was a great opportunity.”

“Something that’s become really apparent since [my] diagnosis is how important community is,” said Beyond Type Run team member Caitlin Sullivan, who was diagnosed with Type 1 two years ago. “It’s a struggle literally every day, and there are moments where I have to stop whatever I’m doing and deal with my low or my high. [The marathon] is a good moment and reminder that there is all of this energy that reminds me that I’m capable of handling it. Being able to get energy and strength from a community, whether it’s the actual Type 1 community or a community of runners, you almost feel it when you’re out on the course, like, I’m gonna get through this. I’m gonna do that.”


Have a marathon story you want to share? Join the app to tell the Beyond Type 1 community!

Katie Doyle

Katie Doyle is a writer and videographer who chronicles her travels and diabetes (mis)adventures from wherever she happens to be. She’s written about dropping her meter off of a chairlift, wearing her pump while teaching swim lessons, and the many road trips and fishing expeditions in between. Check out www.kadoyle.com for more.