Recapping The 2018 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K

WRITTEN BY: James Mansfield

On Saturday, November 3rd, Type One Run (TOR) participated in the 2018 Abbott Dash to the Finish Line 5K in Manhattan with an unofficial team of people affected by Type 1 diabetes. We had sign-ups from about 30 people with T1D as well as ten friends and family. Maybe that sounds like a lot, but we were a drop in a bucket of nearly 11,000 total 5K finishers. In true TOR style, it was casual, it was chaotic, and it was fun!

This was a very special weekend for the Type 1 diabetes community in New York City. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time of year where we are more active than ever in sharing our stories and helping one another to overcome the challenges of this complex disease. On this particular weekend in November, there were multiple teams of Type 1 runners preparing for the New York Marathon – the largest marathon in the world. The members of Beyond Type Run, Team JDRF, and Diabetes Sports Project had all been training for months to dedicate this race and this weekend to inspiring and lifting up the T1D community through their work, their pain, and their perseverance.

Many of us wanted to participate in and add to this excitement while showing our solidarity and support for those who would be racing the marathon the next morning. What better way to do it than by running a rainy 5 kilometers through Midtown Manhattan and ending up in Central Park at the same finish line the marathoners would reach the following day?

All hands on deck

This community-organized event was pulled together by Craig Kasper (creator of ‘The Bravest Life’ podcast and TOR NYC leader) and Francesca McAuliffe (ball of endless energy and leader of TOR Staten Island). Celebrity Taylor Louderman recognized their efforts and signed on as an honorary captain, helping to double the amount of donations that some of the group had chosen to fundraise for Beyond Type 1.

Most of us met up at the start line outside the United Nations at 7:45 in the morning, and we spent an hour chatting, sharing stories, and getting to know one another. As always seems to be the case with those with T1D, our group of mostly complete strangers shared an immediate bond, and conversation flowed easily. We had pens, pumps, high blood sugars, low blood sugars, fast runners, slow runners, and everything in between!

Crossing the finish line

Waiting for us in a group of thousands of people at the finish line were Pat Votruba and Dave Holmes from the Beyond Type Run marathon team. Despite being late for their team brunch, they came bearing free swag from Beyond Type 1: beanies, drawstring bags, stickers, and SPIbelts for each of us. After rushing to find Dave and Pat, we talked our way through several layers of volunteers and security to find our way to a private stage, where Abbott, the marathon sponsor, had announced a generous donation of $25,000 to Beyond Type 1 in recognition of our efforts. Accepting the check was an exciting opportunity for one of our runners, Beatriz Estay, who was celebrating her 10 year diaversary, and her sister Sofia, who would be running the marathon the next day in her honor.

Seeing us arrive, members of the Abbott staff came over and welcomed us with special passes, leading us indoors to the warm and cozy VIP area where the elite runners were resting up after vying for the podium. We were treated to free food and drinks, and Abbott introduced us to the top finishers, giving us the unique opportunity to chat with professional runners who were interested to learn about the challenge of running with diabetes. It was the perfect place to relax, debrief, refuel, and get our blood sugars back under control.

Reflecting on the journey

Running the 5K was the perfect way for us to come together, share and empower each other, and do something positive for ourselves and our community. We didn’t have to jump through any hoops, pay any special fees, or milk our friends and family for donations – although it provided the perfect opportunity and platform for those of us who wanted to raise money to educate, advocate, and cure T1D! In return for simply showing up, we had the unique opportunity to spend time with a big group of others who shared our challenges and knew our struggles without even needing to say anything. As an added bonus, we were rewarded with free swag to remind us that Type 1 makes us awesome and binds us together in a wonderful community, and our actions helped inspire Abbott to make a generous multi-thousand dollar donation in our support.

Can’t beat that!

Find out more about Type One Run HERE

James Mansfield

James was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 2006 while living in San Francisco. He discovered a love of running several years later, especially on trails, and found that it had a profound impact on his physiological and psychological diabetes management. He co-founded Type One Run with Craig in an effort to share those same feelings of empowerment and transformation with others, and to build a community of ordinary people each overcoming their own challenges while supporting one another. He is a partner at Cartifact, a mapping and design firm based in Los Angeles with clients worldwide.