I’ve pretty much given up interest in Medtronic’s Global Heroes program, which purports to recognize runners who’s lives rely on medical devices (many of them, ahem, who run with Medtronic devices, aka customers):
Running long distances was never meant to be easy. It becomes even harder when the body becomes a barrier. For runners diagnosed with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, spinal disorders, chronic pain or neurological disorders, that is the reality. Yet the passion for running remains.
Medtronic proudly recognizes these runners as Global Heroes
They select 25 runners a year, fly them to Minneapolis in October, and sponsor their participation in the Twin Cities Marathon.
Cue the orchestra rising to a glorious crescendo.
And then there is a screech from the violin section, a trumpet squeaks, and the drums crash to the floor.
Under their guidelines it rains this parade, right after the cheery opening:
A Global Hero is a runner. An inspiration. A person whose life has been improved by medical technology.
comes this crushing blow:
Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years, are ineligible. Learn more
As I already said, they pretty much say “Old Heroes Not Wanted”.
People like Team Diabetes fellow runner Jerry Nairn, diabetic pump user, who was run 43 marathons after age 40. Unlike me, who also started late, and pretty much runs at the pace of “enough to finish”, Jerry is a competitive runner, like Boston qualifying level.
So they recently added that little “learn more” statement which I find all more baffling.
Under those guidelines, the TCM [Twin Cities Marathon] medical director determined that runners older than 40, who have been diagnosed with diabetes for more than 15 years, are not currently eligible for the Global Heroes program. This decision was based on increased cardiovascular risks, including a rise in sudden death from atherosclerotic causes, associated with the longevity of diabetes in people older than 40.
So this was the decision of one person. I guess the TCM medical director know my medical condition better than my own doctor? I cannot wait to tell Dr B that his assertions of my good health are wrong.
Where exactly is the medical proof for this assertion? That ALL people at these conditions are at risk for death by running. WHERE IS THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE? cause it runs against everything I have read in more than 37 years of being diabetic.
And then there is this head scratcher:
Each year the criteria for the Global Heroes program is reviewed and re-evaluated. In fact, the guidelines for diabetes were revised from 2007 to 2008, making more runners eligible by adding the qualifier of â€œdiagnosis for more than 15 yearsâ€ to the age requirement.
Let me try to understand the logic here.
- Guidelines in 2007 made ineligible diabetic runners over age 40.
- Guidelines in 2008 added an condition to ineligibility “who have been diagnosed with diabetes for more than 15 years”
How the #^@% does this make MORE runners eligible? The wheels on that logic have fallen off the cart or I need more coffee this morning.
At age seven, when I first went to diabetic camp (yeah Camp Glyndon, which is no more), I heard all the messages that by taking care of myself, I Could Do Anything. There were no asterisks.
This entire situation is a direct slap in the face to any one of the 20+million US diabetics who may even dream of being long time fit, active, and healthy… “If you take care of yourself using the best care available, insulin pumps”, stay physically fit, you are rewarded by being told after age 40 and having been diabetic 15 years you should not be doing this”
I for one, remain totally dismayed by this entire fair. I’ve not run in 2 months since finishing my first marathon — I am in no way blaming Medtronic and their Colossally Stupid Guidelines, as there are other noise going on in my life, by I will say that aiming to be a Global hero (I was nominated by a very nice lady named Catherine), someone to be “An inspiration. A person whose life has been improved by medical technology.” is not a motivator at all to strap on the running shoes.
If you are a runner with diabetes, if you know someone who is, if you are a medical professional, read their words that are supposed to help you “learn more” — and then as they suggest, send your feedback, ask for justification and medical proof for this arbitrary age discrimination to email@example.com since, in theory, “Your input will continue to help us continue to evaluate this program.”
Must be Under 40.