A SELF-CONFESSED former sugar junkie who turned his life around after being diagnosed with diabetes is advising Teesside couch potatoes to avoid making the same mistakes which affected his health as he prepares to tackle the return of the Eston Nab Challenge Race.
Tackling the tough run – which is being sponsored by his employers, SABIC – will continue an incredible 14-month transformation for Acklam father-of-two Steve Brennan.
He used to feast on sugary snacks and drinks from morning until night and was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May 2017 after telling his doctor he felt constantly tired and thirsty.
The 39-year-old decided to alter his diet completely and take up exercise following his diagnosis – and the news that he was on the brink of being hospitalised.
Having struggled to run 2k untimed at first, he now does regular 5k park runs at Flatts Lane, Albert Park and Stewart Park in Middlesbrough and Locke Park in Redcar in around 22.5 minutes.
Steve also swims and goes to the gym regularly, and jogs and cycles to work.
He has lost four and a half-stone in weight and no longer needs to take insulin-producing medication as a result, and is now set to take part in the Eston Nab Challenge 10k race sponsored by his employers SABIC with colleagues on August 18.
Steve is overjoyed with his progress and has decided to share his story as a warning that blood sugar disease diabetes is a danger to anyone leading an unhealthy lifestyle.
Diabetes can have serious implications for sufferers, such as being on medication for life, poor circulation leading to ulcers, and even amputation and blindness.
“Being diagnosed with diabetes has had a significant impact on my lifestyle,” said Steve, who works as a process technician for SABIC on the chemical giant’s Olefins plant at Wilton.
“I feel happier and healthier now and have more energy for family activities.”
“When my sugar levels were re-tested three months after treatment commenced, my progress was so significant that – like many others – I was able to dispense with medication.
“I will always have to have my sugar levels monitored as my body can no longer process sugar in the same way.
“But my new diet and exercise regime means that I can avoid medication and there is far less chance of the condition progressing and complications occurring.
“The advice I would give to other people to avoid diabetes is to think about your diet and lifestyle,” he added.
“Watch out for the symptoms of diabetes – exhaustion, excessive thirst and – or – frequent urination.
“And test your fitness levels. You often don’t realise how unfit you have become, and diabetes is far more common than you think.”
This summer’s edition marks the return of the Eston Nab Challenge Race, a partnership between Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, fell running experts Hardmoors and sponsors SABIC.
It will challenge runners to complete a 5k or 10k race across the Eston Hills, with breath-taking views of Teesside providing an inspirational backdrop along the fully marshalled trail.
SABIC site director Daren Smith said: “We not only have wonderful views of the Eston Hills from our site, but myself and other members of the SABIC team run up the Nab on a weekly basis as part of our health and well-being programme.
“The contrasting views from the top of the Nab, with the industry complex on one side and Roseberry Topping on the other, are well worth the effort.
“We are delighted to support this race to encourage more people on Teesside to keep fit and to explore our beautiful region.
“Good luck to everyone taking part. I hope they have a great time.”
Entries – capped at 300 – for the SABIC Eston Nab Challenge Race are open now at: www.hardmoors110.org.uk/eston-nab-trail-race/
Prices are £8 for the 5k race and £12 for the 10k challenge.
Runners aged 8-13 are able to take part in the 5km race if accompanied by an adult, while runners must be 16 or over in the 10k race.
The races start at 10am on Saturday, August 18 and all participants receive an event T-shirt.
TYPE 2 DIABETES – THE WARNING SIGNS
Many people have type 2 diabetes without realising. This is because symptoms don’t necessarily make you feel unwell.
Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:
- Frequent urination
- Increased thirst
- Feeling very tired
- Losing weight without trying to
- Cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
- Blurred vision
- Increased hunger (especially after eating)