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Jamie’s M1 run for Type 1 Diabetes research: 220 miles over ten days

Father and son smiling, wearing M1 for T1 challenge hats
30 January 2023

Jamie Austin has set himself the incredible challenge of running the M1, 220 miles over ten days. You might ask yourself, why would Jamie do this?  

Jamie’s son, Henry aged 12 was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) in June 2020 when he was ten years old at a hospital in London.  

Type 1 diabetes causes the level of glucose in your blood to become too high. This happens because your body cannot produce enough of a hormone called insulin, which controls blood glucose. People with Type 1 diabetes usually need daily injections of insulin to keep their blood glucose levels under control. 

Henry was just getting to grips with what his Type 1 diabetes would mean for him and his family when Rachel, Henry’s mum found out about a Type 1 diabetes drug trial at Sheffield Children’s. The purpose of the trial is to determine whether a drug can slow down the loss of cells and preserve cell function in children and adolescents who have been diagnosed with T1D. 

In August 2020, Henry began the trial which involved two courses of treatment at the Clinical Research Facility (CRF) at Sheffield Children’s with each lasting 12 consecutive days, six months apart. The drug is given intravenously, and participants are monitored closely. There are a lot of additional visits to hospital for the trial and tests including blood tests, questionnaires and 12/7 glucose monitoring. 

Jamie said: “For Henry to take part in the research into T1D was incredible – it’s helped Henry manage his diabetes over the last few years, making the experience of T1D a lot smoother than it probably would have been. 

“Also, the people we met through the trial were all so fantastic, they were our trusted guides through a difficult time, and they all became family friends.” 

In fact, they became such good friends that Bee O’Shea, Paediatric Nurse Manager in the CRF team will be running part of Jamie’s journey with him.  

Jamie will be running the length of the M1, from Garforth near Leeds to London, very broadly following the route of the M1 motorway. 220 miles over ten days which comes to around 22 miles per day, in aid of JDRF. JDRF fund research into Type 1 diabetes with the hope of improving lives and one day eradicating the condition for good. Jamie said: “Research is so important because there’s such little known about T1D.” 

“I wouldn’t really call myself a runner, I’ve never run a marathon, I’ve run one half marathon in 2021 and I jog at the weekends, but I’ve never done anything like this before. At first, I thought I was pretty foolish and the saying, learn to walk before you run felt very appropriate but the more, I thought about it and looked into it, the more I thought you know what, this could be possible.”

For many the M1 motorway is just a road that gets you from a to b but when Jamie initially started thinking about what the challenge could be the M1 came to mind. For the family the M1 became a big part of their lives, having to travel back and forth for Henry’s trial. Jamie said: “I wanted to do something for Henry first and foremost because he has been so brilliant throughout all of this. With the M1 being such a part of our T1D journey it seemed fitting that the challenge should be based on that. As far as I know, no one has ever run the M1, which might suggest the craziness of it all.” 

“With it being an event, which is to raise awareness and funds, I wanted to push myself, stretch myself so I began planning out the route and training. I began to run longer distances and more regularly. T1D is relentless, it just keeps coming at you every day and I feel the M1 for T1 run showcases that with it being a relentless amount of running, every day for ten days.”

What an amazing challenge and we wish you all the best with it, Jamie!

To find out more about Henry’s research journey you can take a look on our website.

More information about the run can be found on Jamie’s Just Giving page.

The Children’s Hospital Charity also fund vital research into the prevention and cure of childhood illness, find out more on their website.

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