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Team Teme to tackle Wales in a day for diabetes

By Thomas Morton | Ludlow | News | Published:

A 16-strong team from south Shropshire will be saddling up to ride around Wales for diabetes.

A large cycling team made up of staff from Teme Leisure, which runs four leisure centres in south Shropshire, together with Teme Tri Club members, are taking on Wales In A Day on July 22.

The well known cycling sportive sees competitors ride the whole country from top to bottom for good causes, 190 gruelling miles from the picturesque town of Caernarfon to Chepstow, taking in the Llanberis and Gospel Pass.

Lee Hassan, general manager of Teme Leisure, said every pedal push would be to raise money for Type 1 diabetes.

He said: "Two of the group have type 1 diabetes so choosing Diabetes UK as the charity for our annual challenge this year means we can raise funds for a worthy cause and awareness about how type 1 diabetes and how it differs from type 2."

One of those joining Lee will be Andrew Stewardson, a 35-year-old maintenance manager at Teme Ludlow whose diagnosis at the age of 18 came as a massive shock, and meant major changes in his lifestyle.

He said: "My doctor literally said you can't go out and drink like a teenager.

"I was massively into football at the time and I was determined that being diabetic wouldn't stop me enjoying sport.

"Exercising is particularly beneficial for diabetics but adjusting food and insulin around exercise was a learning curve, as different types of exercise can have a different effect on you.

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"I had to find the right plan that worked for me before, during and after exercise.

"Living with diabetes is a constant balancing act, but I learned to live with it.

"For long duration or high intensity exercise sessions, I need to plan extra carbohydrate snacks during the activity. Additional carbohydrates are suggested for each 30 to 60 minutes of exercise."

After years of daily insulin injections Andrew started insulin pump therapy in January 2016, which opened up a whole new world of training.

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"An insulin pump is worn on the body, and supplies the body continuously with its basic insulin requirements. The additional insulin required at mealtimes is administered by pressing a button.

"The greater flexibility gave me the confidence to enter endurance events and I have since competed in multi-sport events such as the Storm The Castle duathlon."

"Blood glucose levels still need to be measured, but the use of individually adjusted doses of short-acting insulin gives a higher level of flexibility during athletic activity and managing training schedules."

Wales in a Day will be keen cyclist David Morris' first major endurance event. David, 37, a Teme Tri Club member, was just seven years old when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He said: "A lot of people think that you must have diabetes because you have eaten too much sugary food but in a lot of cases there is nothing that can be done to prevent it.

"It's not even that it’s genetic, it's just a completely unfortunate event where my pancreas stopped working like it used to."

Because of the training levels needed to embark on an exhausting 190-mile ride, David consulted his GP and a specialist diabetic dietitian before beginning training.

Endurance athletes tend to carry fast-acting carbohydrate food such as gels to boost their performance, but for diabetics it's vital to take them in the event blood sugar drops too low and hypoglycemia symptoms develop during exercise.

To donate to the Teme Lesiure team's cause, visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/TemeLeisure.

Thomas Morton

By Thomas Morton
@tmorton_star

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star

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