Posted in Type 1 diabetes

What Would It Take To Make You Run 10km?

"Elk Bath" – A wildfire on the East ...
Run, Forrest, Run (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Most of us will go through life never having run further than a few laps of the school field (usually under protest). But what would it take to make you run 10km?

  • advance warning that you’re standing next to a ticking time bomb whose debris will fall within a 9.9999km radius?
  • a race to pick up a jackpot winning lottery ticket that you know is lying under a stone 10km away?
  • a fast-moving forest fire that is chasing you towards a river 10km distant?

This may strike you as a hypothetical question – a bit like the old playground favourite, “would you rather run a mile, jump a stile or eat a country pancake?” I remember, in my unathletic childhood, aged about 8, falling for that one and choosing the country pancake – to the mirth of my interrogator, who revealed that “country pancake” is rural slang for cow-pat. (I must say that since I’ve been living in the country, never once have I heard it referred to as such. Though I still might not risk opting for the pancake option on a country pub dessert menu, just in case.)

But I daresay there is a cause somewhere close enough to your heart that might persuade you.

Laura with JDRF mascot Rufus
Laura with JDRF's mascot Rufus Bear - he has coloured felt patches on his body to remind children of the targets for their daily insulin injections.

I know I’ve found mine. In six weeks time, I’ll be running 10km, but not for any of those reasons (well, they’re not part of my plan, anyway). My reason is to raise money and fly the flag for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 3, and that day our lives changed for ever. Gone were the blissful   days of being able to eat what she liked, when she liked. Gone were the low-maintenance days of being able to travel everywhere with a small handbag uncluttered with hypodermics and hypo remedies. (I’d only just got rid of the nappy bag, too.) Gone were the carefree days of visiting hospital only  for the usual childhood A&E trips. Getting a doll’s shoe stuck up your nose is a walk in the park compared to the unmissable daily routine of blood tests and injections. Such ailments don’t put you at risk of serious long term complications, either, other than perhaps a fear of tiny footwear and long-handled tweezers.

For now, there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes. We’re stuck with the daily inconvenience, pain and stress of treating the symptoms, and the long-term angst about the eventual effects on her health. It has got easier with time: at least she no longer hides under the kitchen table and sits on her hands when we’re trying to prick her fingers for the  blood tests.

But there could be a cure, if enough more money were thrown at the problem. There are many extraordinarily gifted and imaginative scientists who are poised to take their research on to the next step, if only funds permit. That their research is funded and cure found is important not only for my small family, but for the millions of children (and the adults that they become) who are suffering the potentially devastating long-term effects of living with diabetes. And for the many children who die before adulthood because they live in countries where the treatment they require is simply not available or affordable.

If I could cure this terrible disease just by running (and what a strange world that would be), then I’d run and run and never stop till I reached the cure. But at least running the Bristol 10k – and the sponsorship I might raise and the publicity I can attract – will take us a babystep along the road to a permanent solution.

And it beats eating a country pancake any day.

Please click here to sponsor me.

A cowpat - cow dung
Country pancake...
or pancake - you decide! (Both photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like The Best Reason to Run.

Or indeed if you need an excuse to eat pancakes, you might like Something to Celebrate!


English author of warm, witty cosy mystery novels including the popular Sophie Sayers Village Mysteries and the Gemma Lamb/St Bride's School series. Novels published by Boldwood Books, all other books by Hawkesbury Press. Represented by Ethan Ellenberg Literary Agents. Founder and director of the Hawkesbury Upton Literature Festival. Course tutor for Jericho Writers. UK Ambassador for the Alliance of Independent Authors. Lives and writes in her Victorian cottage in the heart of the beautiful Cotswold countryside.

4 thoughts on “What Would It Take To Make You Run 10km?

  1. Nothing like a good cause to get you out pounding the streets. I took up running after my son was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2006 – did a 5km race for life, then a 10 km one, then did the Great South Run (10 miles) in 2010. I raised about £4k for Cancer Research and the paediatric oncology unit at Southampton General Hospital – then my back decided it didn’t love me any more so I now just walk the dog. I miss it though – some of my old running buddies did the Reading half marathon today and I was looking longingly at their facebook pics…

    Well done and good luck!

    1. Thanks, Recipe Junkie! These races are addictive, aren’t they? And sometimes, when you feel totally powerless to do anything medically, being able to put on those shoes and run does give you the illusion of being in control over your or your child’s condition. Raising £4k is a fantastic achievement! And if your back dictates you can’t run, you know your cheers along the line of others do make a huge difference to those who are taking part. (Top tip for runners’ morale is to write your name across the front of your race number – then, when you’re visibly flagging, sympathetic people in the crowd will shout out “Come on, Debbie!” and suddenly you feel like a million dollars, you forget the pounding in your chest, and you run at least the next few paces on air!)

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