Why I’m Running (Again): The Marathon of T1D


Editor’s Note: Alexi is a member of the 2021 team of Beyond Type 1 runners that will participate in the TCS New York City Marathon. Beyond Type Run is sponsored by Dexcom and Tandem Diabetes Care.

The little things 

I believe that most people living with type 1 diabetes know that our day-to-day life can often feel like a marathon. 

Even the simplest tasks—like getting ready for work in the morning or taking the trash out—while also having to manage our blood sugar levels and calculate carbs can feel much more difficult than they should. But here’s the thing: people with type 1 diabetes (T1Ds) are underestimated. And sometimes we even underestimate ourselves. 

Finding out what you’re capable of

When I ran the New York City Marathon with the Beyond Type Run Team in 2019, I didn’t really have any expectations for myself. I was moderately athletic, but I wouldn’t have called myself an athlete. Until you run a marathon, I don’t think you ever truly know if you are capable of running a marathon. 

Spoiler alert—I did run the marathon (well, I power-walked a lot of it)—and finished.

This November, I will be running the New York City Marathon for a second time with Beyond Type Run, and this time as co-captain. 

My choice to run again stems from the realization that when you take on something that you never thought your body was capable of, the little things in life suddenly do seem littler. Even when you are also managing T1D. If you can say that you have run a marathon, there is no excuse not to finish the laundry just because your blood sugar is high. And there is no reason not to believe that you can achieve that daily work goal just because you also have to change your insulin cartridge or pump site.

Being a captain

I want to keep accomplishing the things that allow me to surprise myself. I want to inspire and motivate others to do the same. Because each time we learn that our bodies are capable of something new and amazing, we remind ourselves that there is hope. We remind ourselves that the human body is incredible—and able to withstand the most difficult of days—and that this is true even when you live with a chronic illness.

The pride that I felt when I learned that I was chosen as co-captain of this 2021 Beyond Type Run team was profound. I was one of the last to finish on the 2019 team. I power-walked probably more than I ran. But I did finish. And while there were some very impressive athletes on that team, I learned for the first time that I was capable of the unimaginable. And I can’t wait to help and guide my other teammates through the experience—and it is a shared experience. 

We are all the captains of our own bodies and our own goals. But as a marathon team—we are sailing the ship toward a cure, together. 

Alexi is raising money for Beyond Type 1 through Beyond Type Run—her fundraising will make a real difference in the lives of those living with T1D.

WRITTEN BY Alexi Melvin, POSTED 10/22/21, UPDATED 12/07/22

Alexi Melvin serves as chair of the Leadership Council’s Content Committee. She is a journalist who has written for The San Francisco Chronicle, Beyond Type 1 and other digital publications. Alexi is also a voiceover actor and reiki master. In addition to her dedication to being a voice for people living with type 1 diabetes (T1D) everywhere, she has always been passionate about meditation and energy healing. Before getting her Bachelor of Arts degree at The New School University, she studied acting at the Lee Strasberg Institute. She hopes to continue her healing work, and to connect with other T1Ds through her travels and writing opportunities.