A Watlington man is celebrating after completing a marathon just seven months after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
Nigel Kenny, 55, is a keen runner but was forced to pull out of the Boston marathon in the spring following his diagnosis.
Determined to compete again, Nigel worked closely with the Diabetes team at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, including consultants, dietitians and nurses.
On Saturday, 21st October, Nigel took part in the J’s Hospice Chelmsford Marathon and crossed the finish line in a time of 03:41:54.
Type 1 diabetes is a naturally occurring condition in which the insulin producing cells in a pancreas are destroyed.
Nigel said: “I was really pleased to complete the Chelmsford Marathon as I was disappointed to have to pull out from the Lincolnshire marathon.
“It was a shock after my diagnosis but getting back to normal, which meant being able to work and run, was important to me.
“I would not have been able to do the Chelmsford Marathon without the support of the Diabetes team. They offered me a fantastic amount of help.”
Nigel, who took up running five-years-ago, began to feel ill while training in March this year.
Despite having a few rest days, things did not improve so Nigel went to his GP who then sent him onto the hospital.
He said: “First and foremost, I wanted to get back up and running again and feel normal. At every appointment I would ask if they were sure I couldn’t do the marathon.
“I had to pull out on the advice of the medical staff and afterwards I realised that it was the right decision.
“When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t know anything about diabetes just that it was possible to have hypos.”
Since his diagnosis, Nigel has been working closely with his consultant Dr Manoj Thomas, the diabetes nurses and Stacy Metcalfe, a diabetes specialist dietitian.
The diabetes team runs the King’s Lynn Insulin For Food (KLIFF) course which provides information and support to people, aged over 18, who need multiple daily insulin injections. This includes how to adjust insulin levels at meal times so they can eat and exercise as much as they wish.
Nigel said: “The KLIFF course was really good as it helped me understand how to live my daily life with diabetes. Stacy has been a big help, helping me to understand what I need to do to be able to continue running.
“I used a lot of gels and food bars to fuel my body during the marathon and we also put together a strategy of how much food I needed to take on and when.”
Dietitian Stacy has praised Nigel for his determination to complete the marathon.
She said: “Nigel has shown that having diabetes does not mean that you have to stop all forms of physical activity. There are so many health benefits from taking regular exercise, including the possibility to help control blood glucose levels.
“I am glad that Nigel got a lot out of the KLIFF course so that he could continue to do the things that are important to him. One of the aims of KLIFF is to empower people with diabetes.”
If you would like to learn more about the KLIFF course please contact 01553 613494.
Nigel Kenny is pictured after completing the Chelmsford Marathon just a few months after being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
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