Nothing Stops This Type 1 Diabetic. So Inspirational.

Posted on September 29, 2011


The Diabetic Online Community is so wonderful.  Through the DOC, I have met so many amazing diabetics, parents of diabetics, physicians, and lots and lots of other great people. 

One of those terrific people is Roddy Riddle.  A 43 year old man who is passionate about diabetes, biking, and running.  He ran the London Marathon in 2 hours and 44 minutes.  Wow.  Double wow! 

In 2013, he is planning on running the  a 6 day marathon in the sarah desert.  Imagine.  Actually, Roddy’s dedication and enthusiasm has me looking into the race too. 

Roddy’s inspiration is contagious.  Diabetes has not stopped this man at all. 

Come with me to Inverness, Scotland to meet one very cool type 1 diabetic…

1.  Michele:  Please describe yourself to readers.  Envision that you are meeting someone for the first time, and they want to get to know you.  Who is Roddy?  What are your passions, etc.?
Roddy:  I am 43 years old and very much a family man who is married to Lynn and we have 3 terrific children, Alasdair 7 years, Isla 6 years and Findlay 3 years old.I  am a partner in the well established Bikes of Inverness (opened 1988).  I am a very competitive person in all aspects of life.
2.  Michele:  Tell us about your biking career.  Give us the highlights.  Ups and downs of a professional international bikers career.
Roddy:  I started cycling when I was 13 years old.
I never turned professional although was very close to signing for a French team in 1993.
Highlights of my cycling career are breaking Graeme O’bree’s Scottish 1 hour record, 9th 1994 Commonwealth Games in Canada, 4th Tour of Ireland on two occasions.
I have raced for my country on many occasions also.
Since retiring I have done London marathon in 2 hours 44 mins.
3.  Michele:  Tell us about living with diabetes.  When were you diagnosed?  Symptoms?  Surprised?  History in your family? 
Roddy:  I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when I was 40 years old,.
Leading up to been diagnosed I had severe weight loss, 3 stone in the space of 6-8 weeks, I had a unquenchable thirst and was never out of the toilet.

Tiredness also played a larch part along with eyesight not been 100%
Lynn got suspicious and bought a home tester which came up positive, this was on the same week that I had a ticket for the European cup final to watch my team Glasgow Rangers.

I knew if I went to the doctor pre game I would not be aloud to travel to game so I decided to wing it and make a appointment for day after game. I traveled to the game with no energy so didn’t really enjoy the occasion, it didn’t help the fact that my team lost.

Next day I went to Doctor who immediately referred me to the hospital.
Lots of tests were taken that day, later on in the day the specialist came in and asked me how I got to the hospital to which I replied I cycled, to which his response was the only reason I was able to walk never mind cycle was due to my fitness. He also said that my reading was a very special one, that day my blood glucose level was 45.6mml/L, a person without diabetes level is between 4mml/L and 7mml/L.

There is no history in my family.

When I raced my diet was always healthy so the transition has never been a problem for me
4. Michele:   What was your initial reaction to being diagnosed with diabetes?  Your family’s reaction?  How do you respond?  How did they respond?  
Roddy:  I have never had a problem with my diabetes, I feel it is something which is very controllable if you are willing to.
 5.  Michele:  Talk about the highs and lows/challenges of living with diabetes?
Roddy:  I recently took part in a year long trial for a new basal insulin (long acting insulin) which was great, I was able to reduce my bolus (fast acting insulin) due to it being so good.
I can’t say I’ve really had any low points with my diabetes.
6.  Michele:  What has been the most challenging “thing” about living with diabetes?
Roddy:  Having finger tips like a pin cushion.
7.  Michele:  Most amazing thing about living with diabetes?
Roddy:  I recently did a presentation in front of 1200 one touch (diabetes monitors and strip manufactures) staff which was pretty cool.
8.  Michele:  How do you deal with the challenges of diabetes?
Roddy:  I just live normal live except I have to test myself and take insulin injections.
9.  Michele:  What motivates you to keep moving forward?
Roddy:  My family and my work.
10.  Michele:  What diabetes resources did you find the most useful when you were first diagnosed?  Now?  What is lacking in resources?
Roddy:  The diabetes clinic were fantastic in Inverness, when I left the day I was diagnosed I shook the staffs hands which took them aback a bit, they were not used to someone taking being diagnosed with type 1 so well.
11. Michele:   Do you still bike?  race?  Has diabetes changed your approach to biking?  How do  you plan and prepare?
Roddy:  Last year I did a big 3 day cycle 160 kms a day, during the 3 days I took no fast acting insulin and had to reduce my slow acting, this was due to the exercise doing the work of the insulin.
If I go out for a run/cycle I always test first and I never go out without a small packet of glucose tablets.
12.  Michele:  Can diabetics be athletes?  Advice?

Roddy:  In 2013 I am planning to compete in the  6 day 254 km marathon in the desert, my plan is to do this and get as much publicity for fitness and diabetes and to show people that exercise can make a difference and it can change lives.
There is a professional cycling team called Team Type 1 which has a few diabetics in the team.

By far the best thing for anyone, diabetic or non diabetic is exercise.
 13.  Michele:   How do you manage your diabetes?  shots?  insulin pump?  diet?  exercise?  other?
Roddy:  I just use normal insulin pens and to lots of tests, the manufacturers of the strips must love me.

I don’t weigh my food etc, I just look at what’s in front of me and inject what I believe to be correct amount of insulin, most of the time its correct.
14.  Michele:   How has diabetes changed your life?
Roddy:  I feel non at all. 
15.  Michele:  Why do you think you were given diabetes?
Roddy:  During the period leading up to being diagnosed I was putting in long hours in the bike shop, going in a 4 am and finishing at 6 pm, they think this could have been partly to blame.
16.  Michele:  Do you find the diabetic online community useful?  how long have you been a member?
Roddy:  I only recently have started using twitter which is good.
When 1st diagnosed I read a book designed for doctors on diabetes which I learnt a lot from.
17.  Michele:  What words of wisdom would you share with other diabetics? 
Roddy:  Live is for living, this is not a rehearsal!!!!! 
Thanks so much Roddy!  You are great.  An inspiration to all diabetics!