From Team Type 1 SANOFI Run Across America

The first leg – by Marcus Grimm

It’s hard to imagine Team Type 1 SANOFI finding a more beautiful town to run through than Oceanside, California, but with three thousands miles in front of them, there’s no need to award that distinction just yet.

Still, there’s no arguing that the small city, just up the coast from San Diego, is the kind of place you’d be fortunate to call home, with its ample coastline and year-round weather to die for.

It’s also the childhood home of Barbara Mandrell, which doesn’t mean much for today and the Oceanside Pier, which does.

The pier is the longest in the Western  Coast of the US, stretching nearly two thousand feet into the Pacific Ocean. The pier is also where Team Type 1 SANOFI started the Run Across America last night.

In the past twenty-four hours, the athletes have flown in from all around the country. Their support crew has worked tirelessly to prepare the two vans and RV.  Twenty-four hours, of course, does nothing to get you used to the West Coast time zone, but then again, for these adventurers, time zones will mean nothing for the next two weeks. The runners will instead be creating their own timezone: RAA Time, which basically looks like this:

Run three to six miles.
Sit in the van while the other 4 guys in your van take turns doing the same.
Run three to six miles again.
Watch your buddies again.
Repeat a third time. Maybe a fourth.
Chill for 8 hours or so while the other van does what you just did.

Though the runners will complete most legs alone, the historical significance of the event dictated that they share in its beginning, so they all walked together to the end of the pier, while curious strangers looked on.

“Have you guys ran across the county?” one asked, a question that might have hurt lesser men.

“Nope,” came the chipper reply from Casey Boren. “We’re starting now!”

Boren’s excitement was shared by everyone, including Tom Grossman, who voiced the feelings of all the runners on the pier.

“I’m tired of telling people we will be doing it,” said Grossman. “I want to go to where we’ve done it.”

As the runners finished their ceremonial run in from the sea together, the task of taking on the first solo leg fell to Boren, who had to deal with the fact that everyone was still settling into what as going on.

“It was a little crazy,” he said. “Emotional and exciting, but also you’re running through a city and the vans are trying to make all the right turns. It was a little nuts! It was easier for me to just have to worry about running.”

In time, the excitement of the beginning gave way to the monotony of the road and by the time 5AM rolled around and Van A passed through Beaumont, CA, the runners were more than ready to pass the baton to Van B.

“We’re excited but also fairly tired at this point,” said Matt Patrick of Larchmont, NY. “Some of us just flew in yesterday and there were tons of logistical issues to iron out prior to the actual Run Across America. And then on top of that, we had our first shift of running all night.”

The combination of logistics and running mean most of Van A has been without sleep for nearly twenty-four hours, and all of them have completed four shifts of running through the night from Oceanside, CA. That’s a distance of more than seventy miles and as important for the athletes, an elevation change of more than half a mile.

“We’re just finishing up a hill that seemed seven miles long,” said Patrick. “At least it’s dark, so we didn’t know that going into it.”

Their diabetes, thus far, has not been an issue for the team. Blood sugar tests, carbohydrates from sponsors like PowerBar, insulin and five athletes that know how to balance these have kept the squad healthy and on pace thus far. The answers of how to add sleep deprivation and twenty miles of daily running to the mix lay ahead. But at the very least, the seven-mile hill into Beaumont is now behind.

Team Type 1 is made up of 100 of some of the finest professional and diabetic athletes in the world. Their mission is to promote wellness and achievement among diabetics worldwide. The Run Across America, a journey of more 3,000 miles, culminates on November 14, World Diabetes Day, in New York City. 


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