Jersey half marathon finisher helps to raise awareness around diabetes and fitness

Beth Edwards. (37755619)

AN Islander who recently completed her first half marathon has shed light on how she manages her diabetes while training.

Beth Edwards finished the Hospice to Hospice Half Marathon in two hours and seven minutes.

The 24-year-old, who works for Sandpiper and moved to Jersey two years ago, is passionate about fitness and sporting activities.

She has taken to social media to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes and how those with the condition can safely participate in sports.

She has also called for better education about diabetes within sports clubs and groups.

Ms Edwards said: “I know that a lot of type 1 [diabetics] I have met are often scared to part take in physical activity, as they don’t feel safe, or are too nervous because of the fear of having a hypo [when your blood sugar level drops too low] as well as feeling insecure.”

Speaking about the lack of understanding around the condition, Ms Edwards said: “Before I was diagnosed just over a year ago, I had absolutely no idea about what it was like to be diabetic.

“To get a diagnosis out of the blue completely changed my life. It was very overwhelming.”

And last year, a serious complication called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA) left Ms Edwards in intensive care, which then led to her diabetes diagnosis.

She said: “Four months later, I took part in a triathlon event, consisting of a 400m swim, 10km bike ride followed by a 2.5km run.

“It was a huge goal of mine to complete, as I lost so much weight, strength and muscle from my DKA episode and was still learning about managing diabetes.”

After completing the triathlon, Beth set her mind on completing a half marathon.

“Before this point, I hadn’t run much further than 5km and was very nervous about running further because I was worried my blood sugar could drop too low,” she explained.

Training for the half marathon was not easy for Ms Edwards, but she found ways to manage her condition during training.

She said: “There were a lot of runs that I set out on but couldn’t complete due to my blood sugars dropping too low, which became very frustrating.

“With a lot of perseverance and learning a lot from previous runs, trying out different things, such as reducing insulin dosage and taking on extra carbs, I slowly learnt what worked for my body.

“However, those who have diabetes will know it is very unpredictable and what works one day might not work the next.”

She said she was “incredibly nervous” before running the half marathon.

“I didn’t know how my bloods would behave and I doubted that I could even run that far,” she explained.

“But on the day I had the most amazing time and enjoyed every second.

“I completed the half marathon in 2:07, which is a time I am incredibly proud of.

“But really it wasn’t about the time for me, it was about making it across that finish line safely and proving to myself that I could do it.”

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