Association of Diabetes Care & Education Specialists

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It's Great to See People Being Active

Aug 28, 2013

I used to do many running races.  Several years ago, I decided to stop racing and refocus on other priorities.  I loved to train, but never loved to compete so it wasn’t hard to make this decision.  Now, I run two races a year.  My “season” starts with the 5K run on Friday morning of AADE’s Annual Meeting and finishes 2-3 weeks later when I run a 10-mile race in Flint, Michigan called The Crim.  The two races I run have something in common that I really enjoy.  There are lots of others out there being active. 

The dedication of the hundreds of diabetes educators who get up in complete darkness on Friday morning to join forces as we run/jog/walk is wonderful to see.  Some run as fast as possible and others walk along chatting with a friend (or making a new friend).  Even if someone can’t complete the distance, they can join in for the camaraderie.  We ask people with diabetes to be active and here we are practicing what we encourage.

My husband is from Flint and has run The Crim every year for the past 37 years since its inaugural race, making him one of less than 20 people who have done this.  Wow!  It is fun to return to his hometown, meet with friends, and run this race.  There are about 8,000 people in the 10-Mile Race from elite athletes to people who walk the 10 miles, giving it all they’ve got.  The winning time this year was 45:55 for the men (4:36 min/mile) and 54:28 for the women (5:27 min/mile)! I was a little slower than that - well, a lot slower.

The Crim Road Race started in 1977 as a small race with a few hundred people, initiated by Bobby Crim (Michigan’s Speaker of the House at the time) as a fundraiser for the Michigan Special Olympics.  Crim’s assistant, Lois Craig, helped in this endeavor.  The race has grown over the years and is now the Crim Festival of Races.  The events include the original 10-Mile Run (including a Wheelers Division), as well as a 10-Mile Competitive Walk, an 8K Run/Race walk, a 5K Family Run/Walk, a Professional Mile, a Competitive High School Mile, a Family 1-Mile Run, and the Teddy Bear Trot (where all of the children get a matching shirt with a teddy bear front on the front, a teddy bear back on the back, and race number 1.  So cute!).  There is truly something for everyone.  The two-day event brings in over 16,000 competitors.  Bobby Crim, now age 81, completed the race in 1:58:22 and Lois was standing at the 5 ½ mile mark, ready to hand water to Bobby and to cheer for us all, as she does every year.

There are now year-round training programs in the Flint area including neighborhood running clubs, the Crim training program, a community fitness program and a school fitness program.  Those involved in the programs wear team shirts and participate in big groups.  I love to see all of them; people of all ages and from all walks of life. 

Are you involved in some type of activity on a regular basis?  Walking, jogging, or running?  Tai chi or yoga?  Swimming or water exercise?  Do you encourage people with diabetes to be involved in an event?  The ADA Walk for Diabetes or JDRF’s Walk to Cure Diabetes? 

Physical activity has such great benefits; it is wonderful to see people being active and supporting each other in our activities.


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  1. Aug 30, 2013

    Great comments Karen. I agree that the ADA Walk and JDRF's Walk for the Cure are great events to get patients and educators out there and continue to be active. For myself, I am not a runner but enjoy taking long brisk walks. In addition, I bought a foot operated scooter to commute to and from work to the train station which is about 3 miles each way. This allows me to excerice daily and it is automatically built into my day. I enjoy the warm feeling I have each day as I breeze through the city especially in the morning. I cannot imagine myself taking the shuttle when I can enjoy myself with my "Xootr". I also get a chance to meet people along the way for many are quite surprised to see me dressed in business attire on a scooter pumping as hard as I can. I actually laugh along the way when I pass startled pedestrians. Yes, exercise certainly can be fun!!!
  2. Aug 30, 2013

    Karen, it was great to see and meet you at AADE 13! I couldn't agree with you more when saying it is so great to see people of all ability levels out at the AADE 5k and other events. I am currently in the process of prepping for the Twin Cities marathon held in October in Minneapolis MN. In this process I am also team leader for a corporate team from where I work, Sanford Health. We have a team of employees that go to run this and it is great, as an exercise physiologist, to provide help and training guidance to my teammates. For many people, this type of exercise is thought of as being for those "athletic" people. I and many of us in AADE are trying to change this social perception to just another event to be active because there are so many options at nearly every event. Just about every running or other athletic event has various options in which people can participate. I live in fargo ND and we have a marathon every May which hosts over 20,000 participants from young, old, leisure exerciser, elite runners looking for a fast qualifying course, weekend warriors, the everyday runner, and also which I am most glad to see are groups of people with common barriers who battle through to be there to enjoy the day. We in our cardiac rehab always have a group of patients who have at some point had a heart event such as an MI (heart attack), have been exercising with us, and now taking the time to celebrate their success. This is my point when I say that I am trying to change the social perception of participation in events such as this. It is just an event! There are no rules that say you have to be able to be in a given fitness level to participate. Enjoy the day! Take time to celebrate your individual success or just use it as a way to renew your excitement for the ongoing comittment to your exercise plan. I see people have so much fun at these events. I trained a patient of mine who had suffered a heart attack to do his first half marathon 8 months after his heart attack. The following year he came back to me and said I asked my MD if I could run the full marathon because I had so much fun last year. I asked him what his Md said, he told me that he was instructed to get my opinion. Needless to say he ran the full marathon under a closely supervised training plan and had a blast. He even beat some of his younger running partners! He is hooked! I encourage everyone out there to use local events such as this as a way to raise your patients interest level toward physical activity. The excitement of the day alone is enough to keep them going and they may even look for another event on their own soon to follow. Partner with any exercise physiologist that may be willing. You could even start a walking group with the purpose of prepping for a 5k together. Thank you Karen for this blog!

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