Highlands & Islands

Athlete with Type 1 diabetes tells of marathon motivation

Roddy Riddle Image copyright Ultra Arctic 6633
Image caption Roddy Riddle finished the 6633 Ultra event in second place

A former Commonwealth Games cyclist has told of what motivated him to complete a 350-mile ultra marathon held inside the Arctic Circle.

Roddy Riddle, who is from Inverness and has Type 1 diabetes, completed the 6633 Ultra in Canada in just under seven days earlier this month.

He entered the race previously but was unable to finish it.

Mr Riddle said he let people down that time and "wasn't coming home" until he completed his second attempt.

To finish the race, competitors must reach the end in eight days or less.

Mr Riddle not only completed it within that time but was the first Scot to do so and finished the event in second place.

He told BBC Radio Scotland's Personal Best programme that he did the marathon to show that having Type 1 diabetes did not mean giving up on goals.

Mr Riddle said: "Last year, as I did this time, people could follow my progress.

Image copyright Roddy Riddle
Image caption The race represented unfinished business for the former Commonwealth Games cyclist

"Families with children or other family members with Type 1 diabetes were following my progress and it was them I felt I let down.

"I wanted to prove that having Type 1 diabetes shouldn't stop you achieving your goals or achievements in life.

"By not finishing, I had let myself down, I had let my family down, my friends down and most importantly the whole diabetes community down."

'Wacky hallucinations'

Mr Riddle said he arrived at the start line for his second attempt much wiser and with more respect for the race.

He pulled a four-wheel pulk, a type of sledge carrying his supplies, instead of the two-wheel version that gave him back pain on the first attempt.

Mr Riddle said: "I had also learned that I should sleep when I needed to sleep and eat when I needed to eat. It meant I didn't have the wacky hallucinations I had last year."

He added: "I wasn't going back a third time. I was not coming home until I finished. Not finishing wasn't an option.

"But I was better prepared. Mentally I knew what I needed to do."

Image copyright Ultra Arctic 6633
Image caption Mr Riddle said not finishing was not an option

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