DENVER (CBS4)– A long distance runner has made his way to Colorado on his quest to run all the way across the country while battling a chronic disease.
What makes the effort even more impressive is that Doug Masiuk has Type 1 diabetes and has to manage his blood sugar the entire time.
Masiuk says the meaning behind his run is to raise awareness about diabetes in the communities he’s visiting. He started in San Francisco on May 20 and hopes to make it to New York City by November.
Masiuk’s run has taken him through the desert and triple digit heat. He has endured high winds and heavy rains.
On Day 17, he had to stop briefly. “I wanted to run more, but I couldn’t feel my feet or my face,” he said.
In one of the many videos he has posted on YouTube about his experience Masiuk said the only thing that can stop him is running out of money. Three friends follow him in a car, and often they sleep in donated hotel rooms along the way.
LINK: Masiuk’s YouTube Channel
“I’ve been pretty fortunate, a couple times we’ve been like, ‘I guess we are camping tonight,’ ” he said.
While on the road Masiuk has to keep a close eye on his glucose levels. But at times, the running actually counteracts his disease. He has gone up to 10 days without taking insulin.
“That metabolism was an inferno and you put an inferno it just incinerates so you wouldn’t need that shot,” Masiuk said.
After running over the Rocky Mountains and arriving in Denver on Thursday he gave a motivational speech to doctors and patients at the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes at the University of Colorado School of Medicine on the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora.
He said dealing with the altitude in Colorado was not as bad as going from sea level to Lake Tahoe at the beginning of his journey.
Masiuk says he is being motivated along the way by the people he meets. He also is inspiring others, especially families who are in the tough position of just learning about a diabetes diagnosis for the first time.
“I’m running across the continent, I’m running a lot of miles, your kid can go out and play kick ball. It’s going to be okay. It isn’t the end of the world, it is diabetes,” Masiuk said.
Masiuk says he’s also motivated by getting messages from people he has met, who correspond with him through his website 1run.org.
“Thirty seconds of exercise is better than none. Often times we say take that first step, walk around that block,” he said.
A total of 230 runners have made it across North America. Doug plans to be the first with Type 1 diabetes. So far he has burned through nine pairs of running shoes.