Charlotte hurst and her marathon de sables 2023 mission.

Introducing Charlotte… a Willy’s ambassador!

Charlotte Hurst, is a successful, brave and determined young lady who has already had a tough road in life, living with Type 1 Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Coeliac Disease, she plans to make her life even tougher…by running the unbelievably challenging, Marathon Des Sables in 2023 and raising £100,000 for T1 International and Type 1 Diabetics across the globe.

The Marathon Des Sables is one of the most grueling races on the planet and takes place over 6 days, running over 156 miles, in temperatures of over 50°C  through the most inhospitable and challenging terrains in the World – The Sahara Desert. 

Not only are conditions harsh and forbidding, but competitors must carry all their food, medicines and sleeping equipment with them for the duration of the race.Training for this race is brutal for anyone, let alone a diabetic, where even popping to the supermarket takes huge organisation and can have dire consequences if things go wrong. So,what on Earth is she thinking?

Well, Charlotte is a sufferer of Type 1 Diabetes and Rheumatoid arthritis and she is in the best shape of her life! Yup, that’s right! 

No hiding away and crying for Charlotte; she is out there trying to help more people like her, who struggle to keep themselves together, everyday. Charlotte is an athlete (as well as a Chiropractor for people, horses and dogs) and she is a kind, empathetic and lovely person who wants to help others and cannot stand to see suffering.

Globally 1 in 2 people living with type 1 diabetes cannot access or afford their insulin and we know that 1 in 4 people in the US alone, dangerously ration their insulin due to the extortionate costs governed by the pharmaceutical industry.

Thousands more people are living in conflict zones, where basic medical needs cannot be met and it is hard to find food and shelter, let alone life-saving insulin or blood glucose testing strips.

Living with type 1 diabetes should not be a balancing act; it should not be the fatally frightening disease that it is for hundreds of thousands of people, and that is where T1 International and our heroine of the story come in.

T1 International is a grassroots advocacy organisation which exists to make systemic changes across the globe when it comes to the issues of access and affordability of insulin and diabetes supplies.

T1 International aim to bring about this change by engaging and empowering people living with diabetes across the world to become patient advocates, to stand up for their rights to access and affordability, and to enact policy and process change in their own country. 

Together they push forward the global access to medicines movement, specifically the #insulin4all movement so that one day everyone living with diabetes will have everything they need to survive and thrive. 

Our wonderful Charlotte is planning to raise £100,000 for T1 International to help people across the globe get access to the medical care and help that they need to thrive.

Charlotte will be training hard for the next 4 months before her race as well as managing her body whilst preparing it for one of the toughest experiences of her life. She will be running a number of races across the country to raise money and help figure out how her body will react to this monumental challenge. She ran the Race to The Stones in July this year, a 2 day 100km race in which she returned victorious and has since completed Cheltenham half marathon and Chester marathon as part of her training. In November she will be tackling the Druids Challenge; a 90 mile ultra across the Ridgeway from Tring to Swindon over 3 days of running. Even with all this running, she will need to help acclimatise her body to high temperatures,with regular visits to a heat chamber and by running various stress tests there for the remainder of the year. She will have the full support of the Willy’s team to back her up and we really want to help her to raise the money she needs. 

Willy’s ACV is a regular part of Charlotte’s diet, as she uses it for a variety of reasons, including helping to manage her blood sugar during the day. You can follow her MDS journey and preparations on the gram @charliedoesthemds, and if you want to know more about her and read her fantastic Blogs on health, nutrition and disease, please check out her website and her work website  Hurst Health. Given the complex needs of her body, and the challenging few months ahead, Charlotte stays up to date with the latest research, so she is an excellent source of information and advice should you need any.

Please please help Charlotte to make her £100,000 target and sponsor her on Go Fund Me.

Click here for more details and to donate, and don’t forget to support the #insulin4all campaign this month and read more about it here.

Follow #insulin4all on Twitter  and Instagram

We have asked Charlotte some questions about her training and the challenges she is encountering…

Interviewing Charlotte

How many miles per week are you putting in and what is your daily training routine like?

Currently I’m running 4-5 times a week and my mileage hovers around 70-90 miles a week depending on what’s going on. Currently I’m tapering a little bit for Druids Challenge but once I have recovered from that, the mileage ramps up pretty quickly again to Christmas week where I’ll be staying away from the Christmas turkey, by running 20+ miles a day for that week. 

How is your body dealing with it so far and what are you having to do to maintain your health?

I’ve had a bit of an up and down last few months with various different issues but I’ve learnt that it’s not always going to be amazing and easy training. The lows are what teach you to make necessary changes to experience the highs.

I have had to recently look at and pull apart my nutrition, with some expert guidance as I was getting some niggles, not recovering properly and my diabetes control went a bit awry. This hasn’t been helped by an over active thyroid which came out of the blue with no obvious cause but things are back on track now and I’m feeling better than ever!

Other than that my body is standing up to it all pretty well. I am so in awe of what our bodies let us do, even when things aren’t necessarily easy or straight forward.

We are concerned… how will you monitor your body during the race and ensure you have the right meds/help?

I will have a plan A, a plan B and a plan C.  This will mainly involve taking back up medications and devices to help me know what my blood glucose is doing as well as the diabetes control.  The scary thing is that the more back up stuff I take, the heavier my back pack will be to run in.  I’m sure you can imagine that running over the desert will be hard enough – I don’t want to be carrying excess weight.

So it will be a balancing act of risk versus reward.  This is why having a handle on as much data as possible in the run up to the event is going to be crucial, and that’s why having access to the heat chamber will be vital to my training.  Not only do I get to learn my body’s response to the heat and my meds in that heat, but also how my medication will last in those sort of temperatures.

Which is your favourite Willy’s ACV?

I love the ACV with balsamic vinegar.  I have been using it lots on dressings, in cooking and more recently on my jacket potatoes!  It’s so yummy and knowing how good it is for my gut health it’s a win win!

I also love the Kombucha range.  My favourite flavour would be the sparkling apple.  I have one a day knowing that these fermented products are key to healthy gut microbiome.

How do you have your Willy’s? 

I used to have it as a shot in the morning.  But more recently I have discovered ways of cooking with it and adding it to foods to enhance taste and flavour.

Why do you include Willy’s as part of your daily routine?

I believe Willy’s is key to 3 huge factors in my health.

– It helps to balance blood sugar levels.  I always recommend this to people, especially if they are type 2 diabetic or pre-diabetic.

– I had a nasty case of SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth) due to an undiagnosed gluten allergy.  I believe Willy’s ACV was key in helping to establish a good balance of the good bacteria in my gut.  I now rely on it to help me maintain a healthy tummy.

– Another thing I noticed when I had a short period of not taking Willy’s was my recovery was out of whack.  A few minor aches, pains and niggles crept in and since being back on it these have diminished.

If you would like to learn more about Diabetes, please click here to visit the Diabetes UK website.

To check symptoms of type 1 diabetes, click here
To know more about type 2 diabetes, click here.

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