Medtronic Sucks

UPDATE: The following post is about a policy I felt was unfair about the Medtronic Global Heroes Program. The policy has since been changed, and I no longer think Medtronic sucks. :)

Yes, that title is link bait. I chose it on purpose so that when anyone Googles "Medtronic Sucks," this post will rise to the top.

Now, I know what you're thinking. "Marcus, doesn't a Medtronic insulin pump keep you alive?" YES. And "Haven't you said you love your pump?" Yes, again. And - if you're a really close reader - "Aren't you Mr. April in this year's Medtronic Calendar??" Once again, yes, baby.

However, I found something out about Medtronic yesterday that ticked me off. The news came from Jerry Nairn. Close readers of this blog know that while Jerry and I both have diabetes and both run a lot - we often disagree. We disagree about marathon training and sometimes about blood sugar management. Still, I have a huge amount of respect for Jerry and consider him a friend. Also, he's run like a million more marathons than I have (one).

Jerry was looking into for becoming a Global Hero for the Medtronic Marathon. Those with physical disabilities can apply for cool sponsor privileges. Medtronic pays for these 25 athletes to travel to the race and run it. It's a nifty way - I think - for Medtronic to recognize those who are overcoming their physical limitations. Except, Jerry points out this from the entry criteria:

"Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years, are ineligible."

Huh? So get this. Guys like Jerry - who runs multiple marathons every year, and guys like me - I've had diabetes for 24 years now - are un-eligible. Now, I'm sure this is all about liability issues, but the fact remains: If Medtronic is in business to help people live long and prosperous lives with diabetes, shouldn't they be embracing those that have succeeded in their shared vision.

One more time: Medtronic sucks.

UPDATE: Don't miss Jerry's comment: "It was in 2007 that they introduced a rule against diabetics over 40. This year they modified that rule to be against diabetics over 40 who have had diabetes for more than 15 years." This is a new rule! Even worse.


  1. WOW, No kidding!

    I guess if their pumps are only good for us for 15 years, we should find another company that will keep us healty for longer periods of time.

    What a shame - seems to go against everything they say they stand for. I am outraged as well!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi, Marcus,
    Sorry about the deleted comment. I couldn't figure out how to fix a typo.
    I can see how you took my post in another forum to mean that I was interested in participating in the Global Heroes program at the Twin Cities Marathon.
    However, that is not the case. I was already chosen to be part of the program in its first year, 2006. Medtronic paid for me to fly out, stay in a nice hotel, have dinner and hobnob with some very inspiring people, and run the marathon. I was 47 and had been diabetic for over 30 years at the time.
    It was in 2007 that they introduced a rule against diabetics over 40. This year they modified that rule to be against diabetics over 40 who have had diabetes for more than 15 years.
    I'm not griping about this for myself, but for others who are being denied the opportunity I was given.
    See my friend Alan's blog:

    Thanks for posting this in your blog. The more negative attention this program gets, the more likely it is that Medtronic will fix it. It really is a good thing. They just screwed it up.

  4. Thank for spreading the word. Jerry has been a great deal of support sharing all his communication efforts with Medtronic; though its not clear how much is on them and how much is on the Minneapolis Marathon.

    But it is a stupid arbitrary exclusion that flies in the face of almost every aspect of diabetes wellness education


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