Hey, Spike! thinks Doug Masiuk is a running, rolling machine
Doug Masiuk is a Type 1 diabetic, but he sure doesn’t let that stand in his way as an extreme athlete.
A couple of months ago, Doug became the fourth person to cross the United States — by running and bicycling. He had already notched his belt by being the first with type 1 diabetes to run coast-to-coast in 2012. Only 240 have ever made it running coast to coast.
The Summit Daily’s Jessica Smith profiled Doug in a September 2014 article as he was preparing to run the Appalachian Trail. About that time Spike! met the fellow runner training out on the Frisco recpath. Three weeks into the AT run, a piece of metal cut through Doug’s foot, resulting in an infection. He spent two weeks in the hospital on antibiotics recovering, ending his record trail run attempt.
A diabetic since age 3, Doug’s faced numerous challenges along the way. He’s now 41, and when he’s not competing, you can find him at Frisco’s Silverheels Bar and Grill busing tables, where he can put in 10 miles in a shift.
Nearly 29 million people in the U.S. have diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Society, and as many as one in three American adults will have diabetes in 2050 if current trends continue.
There are two main types of diabetes — type 1 and type 2.
Type 1 diabetics like Doug must check their blood sugar and administer insulin by injection several times a day. Failure to properly manage diabetes can result in health issues such as sight loss, heart and kidney disease, and in extreme cases, amputation.
Doug directs the nonprofit 1Run.org, which is on a mission to get others to prevent diabetes where they can and to better one’s diabetes through exercise. Doug updates his community interactions, meetings and runs at 1Run.org. Donations can be made to support its mission.
At a recent meeting with Dr. Christine Ebert Santos at the Summit Medical Center, Doug met families and children with type 1. In August he spoke and met with kids at the Type 1 Family Camp for Diabetes created by the Grand Junction Community Hospital.
Never a collegiate runner, Doug earned a degree in film and TV from New York University in 2002.
Earlier this summer, “after running and completing the Leadville 50-mile race, my doctor explained that I should — and needed — to take a break from running,” he says.
During the year, Doug had logged over 4,000 miles and participated in many events — from attempting to run and break the Appalachian Trail record, racing in the Atlanta Half-Marathon and doing very well, and racing several 10,000 meter track events under 29 minutes. He’s clocked a mile in 4:15.
“My goal was to complete the Leadville 100 at the end of the summer, then continue to race in marathons leading up to the Olympic qualifier in Los Angeles,” he explains. “Oops, I overdid it.
“I was diagnosed with a form of exercise fatigue syndrome — great. One week after I walked out of the doctor’s office with what was feeling like high blood sugars from my diabetes I got a bike, a used Bianchi tourer from a woman in Denver.”
Doug rode it the next day.
“Ten days later I decided that I would ride it across the U.S., like when I ran across the U.S., I would work with communities to share with people with diabetes that anything is possible,” Doug explains. “More than anything, this was the greatest motivator for me. What was the worst that would happen, I wouldn’t make it?”
He started peddling from Tybee Island, Georgia, east of Savannah on Oct. 18, and finished at Imperial Beach, California, near San Diego, on Nov. 18.
“When my wheels reached the Pacific, I had become the fourth person to have ever run and ridden across the continent. Being a person with type 1 diabetes added to the significance,” he admits.
A numbers kinda guy, here is Doug’s tally for the ride:
Riding stats: 2,800 miles total
Days on the road: 30, 26.5 days on the bike
Miles day riding average: 101
Longest ride: 122 miles Louisiana into Texas
Mph average: 14.3
Fastest: 48 miles an hour at Pine Springs, Texas
Most miles in an hour: 22, Pine Springs
Most Rain: 11 inches, Oct. 26; 30 inches of rain over four days
Wind: 60 mph gusts, Nov. 15–16
Most calories in one day: 6,100
Events: Atlanta American Diabetes Association; Atlanta YMCA; NorthPort Elementary School Alabama; University of Alabama; Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, Jackson, Mississippi; Texas Health Hospital, Dallas, Texas; El Paso Diabetes Association, El Paso, Texas; Tigua Indian Pueblo, and Texas American Diabetes Foundation
Largest audience: Over 5,000 in Phoenix with the American Diabetes Association’s Step Out Walk.
Runner’s World magazine’s Hannah McGoldrick told Doug’s cross-country run story back in 2012:
“Every day of Doug Masiuk’s 3,012-mile coast-to-coast running journey has been a gift,” he says. One day in particular stood out when he was able to console two parents at a hospital in Colorado whose son had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.
“Diabetes is a bad thing, it’s really loaded,” Masiuk said yesterday during a stop in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley. “But I can stand in front of them and here I am running over a continent, so what is really broken here? I think it gives them a lot of reassurance and just confidence.”
Jessica’s 2014 SDN story tells more:
“Masiuk was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 3. He always loved to run but as he got older, his career and life got in the way. According to Masiuk, he had a wake-up call in his early 30s and decided to put on a pair of running shoes and go. He made it about an eighth of a mile before collapsing. That didn’t stop him; he went out the next day and ran a little farther. About a year later Masiuk was running nearly 30 miles a day, and he now takes only a fourth of the insulin he used to need.”
“I was running off my need for it,” he said.
Doug’s replaced the insulin need with his endorphin need stimulated by athletic pursuits he finds in running and biking.
So, what’s next?
Doug’s going to combine his love of shoes and spokes by running the 2016 Tour de France course, which apparently, he says, no one has done. The famous annually changing race layout, this year’s bicycle multi-stage event is offering 2,186 miles of varying torture.
To get ready for the European classic, Doug will be going to the Caribbean and making his way across the Windward Islands (St. Lucia, Grenada, Martinique — eight in total) to meet with underprivileged diabetic children and their families to share what is possible with type 1.
“While there I will be preparing to run in the Transvulcania Ultra’s 48 miles with 8,086 meters of elevation, known as one of the more difficult ultra’s in the world, in the Canary Islands the beginning of May,” he explains.
Miles F. Porter IV, nicknamed “Spike,” a Coloradan since 1949, is an Army veteran, former hardrock miner, graduate of Adams State College, and a local since 1982. An award-winning investigative reporter, he and wife Mary E. Staby owned newspapers here for 20 years. Email your social info to firstname.lastname@example.org
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