Heroes No More?

So I'm continuing my slow boil over the fact that Medtronic isn't considering diabetics "Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years" for their Global Heroes program.

After Jerry let me in on the fact that this is a NEW guideline this year, I decided to see how many previous "Heroes" would've been ineligible under this new criteria. I was able to uncover three:

From the 2007 Class:

Scott WieboldScott Wiebold

Cartersville, Georgia

Wiebold, 36, a Type 1 diabetic, has an insulin pump.

A Type 1 diabetic for 27 years, Wiebold decided to try pump therapy after meeting other diabetic runners at a half marathon in Kona, Hawaii.

“At the time I was taking 4 to 6 insulin shots a day. I realized that I needed to get better control of my diabetes if I wanted to run a full marathon. After seeing and talking with other diabetics with insulin pumps, I knew that an insulin pump would be an essential tool in reaching my athletic goals.

“My insulin pump has given me the freedom and flexibility to train and complete three marathons. I am in the best shape of my life. To me, running marathons with diabetes is an opportunity, not an obstacle. It’s an opportunity to discover how strong you are, to prove you have the discipline and determination to achieve your goals, and to inspire others.”

From the 2006 Class:
  • Jerry Nairn, Chandler, Ariz. — Nairn has run 30 marathons and achieved a personal best time of 3:31:21 last year. He was diagnosed with diabetes as a high school cross country runner. But now, he uses his insulin pump to regulate his blood sugar so he can focus on a perfect run. Finish time: 3:38:18
  • Dave Thoen, Bloomington, Minn. — Thoen developed diabetes which made running marathons seem impossible. He received an insulin pump that gives him the flexibility to lead the active lifestyle he enjoys. He ran in his 14th Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon this year. Finish time: 3:55:27
Hmmm.. Know who else is ineligible? Missy Foy - the first diabetic to run in the Olympic Marathon trials.

One thing to add here. I personally have never signed up for the Global Heroes program. I briefly considered throwing my hat in the ring this year, but decided I wanted my fall marathon to be Steamtown. But I always thought that it was a very very cool idea and had been on my "future goal" list.

Shame on you, Medtronic: VERY uncool.


  1. I don't have diabetes but that disappoints me still. I'm positive seeing others that manage Type I properly while being active for a significant amount of time would be inspiring for those newly diagnosed or unsure about what they are capable of achieving.

  2. This is very disappointing. It would be helpful (but perhaps not so helpful) if Medtronic explained their reasoning behind this. Look at Bill Carlson, the first diabetic to run an Ironman back in 1983. He has had diabetes for 35 years and is going to do another Ironman this year for his 25th anniversary of that first, legendary event. He is a hero to me and inspires me to keep working on my fitness goals with the hope that I can be as healthy as he is in another 15 year with the disease. It seems like the only reason Medtronic would implement this rule is an unreasonable and uneducated fear of litigation.


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