Marathon--what have I gotten myself into?

Hi, I'm the mom of a daughter (Allie) with type 1.  She's 15, dx'ed at 12.  She has decided to run a marathon and started training this week.  The thought of her running without someone to watch her every step of the way freaks me out, so I'm going to run it with her (hence the what have I gotten myself into--panic! Even though I'm already a runner, but mostly 10Ks).  I've read the other posts about GU, the Hammer gel stuff, and Gatorade and exercise bg range, etc. and will have all that strapped to my body (great image in my head) but still worry.  Allie's numbers have been atrocious lately (last A1c was 9.7).  Should I even ALLOW her to do this until her numbers are more in control?  Or should I encourage her, since the exercise will help her numbers and maybe motivate her to take better care of herself? 

Any and all advice, I'll take it.



Hi Sandi,

I've lived with diabetes for 39 years and am a runner too.  Managing your numbers is very helpful to enjoying running.  If Allie's numbers are running on the high side, running may not be a bad thing.  However, I would caution about running a marathon at 15.  Not b/c of the diabetes, but because of the type of training it takes and sometimes that's really hard on a young body.  I'd feel more comfortable with her running 10 miles and half marathons before she dips into marathon training.  I've been a massage therapist for 20 years having worked with world class athletes, in particular, many top women marathoners.  Those who started really young ended up having struggles later in the 30s to run comfortably, not even competitively.  While Allie may not be looking to train for the Olympics, it's the stress on the body that concerns me for all teens.  Her growth platelets, muscle/tendon growth are key points of concern for many coaches, trainers, PT and docs, when kids decide to train long distance.   I currently work with HS track and CC teams in the DC area, so that age group is very familiar to me.

So Allie should take up running and first work on getting her blood sugar control in place so she can have fun.  Running with low BG sucks!  As much experience as I have, I ran 5 the other day and had a 50 bg when I came in the door, even with GU!  I started my run at 210.  Check out the Diabetes Sports and Exercise Association, DESA, for tips and help.  Gary Scheiner of Integrateddiabetes is another resource! DESA website:

Best of luck! Feel free to contact me if I can answer more for you!

Ann Bartlett


Thank you so much!  I talked to Allie about your advice and although a tad diappointed, she accepted it.  It helps to have the info coming from someone with experience and someone who's not Mom!  She and I will be reading the websites you mentioned.  I think this will motivate her to take better care of her numbers. 

Again, thanks so much!