FORMER Stroud Ac runner Hayley Hudle has a belt full of jelly babies to help her get through the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday.
As if running the gruelling 26.2 miles around the streets of London were not enough, Hayley has to manage the Type 1 Diabetes she has suffered from for almost 19 of her 27 years.
That means she must take regular blood tests en route and be prepared for the inevitable sugar highs and lows.
“I’ve got quite adept at pricking my finger and taking a blood test – it only takes about 30 seconds,” said Hayley, from Cirencester.
“When I ran the London Marathon in 2011, I had six stops but I am hoping to do it with three stops this time.
“If I am on a sugar high, I have an insulin pump on me and if I have a sugar low, I dive into my supply of jelly babies.”
Both the insulin pump and the blood test kit are about the size of a mobile phone and therefore extremely portable. Hayley is one of a number of runners from Cirencester Athletics Club, including her husband Richard, also a former Stroud AC member, who will hopefully be pounding up The Mall towards the finish on Sunday.
Hayley, who works as a chemist at her husband’s waste management firm (Wastesafe Ltd) based in Yanworth near Northleach, is running in aid of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF).
“It’s a charity close to my heart and I just wanted to show people with diabetes that it can be done,” she said.
“After I ran in the race previously, I was contacted by Ruth Robinson, whose teenage daughter Amy had just been diagnosed with diabetes, and I think I proved to them that you can have a full life. “I’m not fast – I’m a bit of a plodder really. But I do have the fittest dog in Cirencester – my springer Barclay – who sometimes comes out training with me.
“I beat five and a half hours by a second in 2011 but I am hoping to beat five hours this time.
“Richard and I ran in the 20-mile ‘Grizzly’ in Devon on Mother’s Day, so I’ve done the work and I’m pleased with how my training has gone despite the awful weather.”
Husband Richard, meanwhile, is a rather more serious runner and a pillar of the Ciren AC men’s cross country team.
He also has a thoroughly cultured approach to marathon running given that his previous races have been held in iconic cities like Berlin, Paris and Prague.
“It means we can make a long weekend of it and we often go with friends,” he said.
Richard ran his best time (3hrs 6mins) in 2012 at Berlin and received a second boost while in Germany.
“It was after trying and failing to get back into London for five years that I got the news I had been accepted while in Berlin. Hayley got her news there, too.
“I think I am capable of running a sub-three hour time but you never know what the conditions are going to be like and it does depend on how your body reacts on the day.”
Richard is using London as building block for an even tougher endurance challenge as he bids to qualify for a famous ultra marathon in 2014 – at another iconic venue. “In addition to running marathons, I am focusing on longer distance races including ultras in an attempt to qualify for the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) next year. That’s a week-long race of 166km which takes in three countries as we basically circumnavigate Mont-Blanc in the Alps,” he said.
It’s a challenge which the Hurdles will not be tackling together, Hayley preferring to enjoy the break and support from the sidelines.
It’s not just work and marathon-inspired breaks that they share together. Their love of running has even seen them solve those age-old dilemmas of what to get your partner on key anniversaries.
Hayley bought Richard some sessions with personal trainer Jason Stallard for Christmas and her husband returned the favour on Valentine’s Day!