Kenny Campbell - Diabetes Sports Project Ragnar Relay
**This is a guest blog post by fellow Diabetes Sports Project athlete Kenny Campbell. I decided to share this post here because of the compelling way he describes the Diabetes Sports Project community.
Kenny explains in perfect words why we are part of this group doing crazy sporting events and not letting type 1 diabetes get in the way.
To find out more about DSP visit: http://www.diabetessportsproject.com
DSP takes on Ragnar Los Coyotes, California
By Kenny Campbell, ultrarunner & DSP athlete
I joined the DSP Ragnar team for their race in Los Coyotes, California – I wasn’t even a DSP athlete at the time of registration but wanted to join a group of type 1 athletes in a sporting event and this was such a great opportunity (and I’m now happy to say I am their newest athlete!)
This was my first Ragnar style race and I definitely had some nerves going into the event, even more so only knowing three out of the eight team members. I didn’t know much about Ragnar other than it was a relay style race and we would be camping and running consecutively for a couple days.
I arrived right after sundown on Thursday evening, luckily enough to find Casey, Amy Ben and Bradford very quickly and right off the gate they all felt like old friends that you hadn’t seen in a while.
After getting situated, our camp site set up and marking some space for the other remaining members who were arriving Friday, we explored the Ragnar Village and shared our past stories of diabetes and racing experience alike.
I quickly learnt this wasn’t just a race but a time to connect with fellow type 1 diabetics who happen to love endurance sports of all kind.
We found ourselves sitting down at the communal tables with our drinks of choice sharing stories and cracking jokes. Being around a group of people who just want to have a good time and run around a little was such a refreshing feeling.
It was great also knowing we were all competitive but at the same time knew how to balance that with fun.
There was no feeling of pressure for the relay but to only go out and have fun on the course. The positive attitude of the team was a huge tool for me during the relay since it was very challenging at times with the weather being extremely cold and unforgiving, running at times of the night and day that I hadn’t ran before.
Having the team around and their positive energy made it so much easier to fight through the tough elements knowing you had all of their support.
Before the start of the race we had the whole team there – Eric, Jerry and Bill joined us amplifying the already existing buzz from the night before. Knowing that these guys go through the same ups and downs I do day in and day out and are still able to remain so positive is incredible to me and such a gift to be around, it instantly gives you this internal motivation.
After the start of the relay the competitive side of us was very easy to see and the support for one another was incredible. Seeing people who only get together a few times a year doing whatever they can for one another was incredible to witness. Feeling that support from them when I’d only met most of the team a few hours prior was amazing. From there on we all did our best to help the next runner get through the rough trails all at the same time keeping the mood relaxed and positive. Type 1 diabetes was always present and a constant topic but never in a negative or burdening way.
Loop after loop as we got closer to finishing the relay and our team enjoyed just hanging out helping each other and sharing more stories. Eric was our last runner and in Ragnar fashion the team runs in with their last runner to close out the weekend.
Eight type 1 diabetics set out and crushed the challenge of the Ragnar relay showing that this disease will not put any restrictions on our passions.
A huge highlight for me was after finishing we were approached by a fellow type 1 diabetic who heard our team name and saw us finish. They came up and immediately shared their stories with us.
Seeing how we connected so easily with strangers with this common aspect in all our lives was incredible. In that moment I learned DSP isn’t just about type 1 diabetic athletes doing well in their sports but the outreach and connection it provides us through sport and adventure.
Making a place for us all to come together and share our stories to one another.