The Endurance Challenge! Do You Have What it Takes?
Do you have what it takes to keep up with professional snowboarder Chris Southwell as he takes on seven of the most demanding endurance events on seven different continents? He’s showing the world that having diabetes doesn’t slow him down, and you can show the world that you’re made of the same stuff as Chris with our new JDRF Partner challenge!
Chris is an impressive guy doing some crazy things – all in the name of diabetes advocacy and fundraising for a cure with JDRF.
A perfect fit for mySugr, right?
Over the next year and a half, Chris will be traveling the globe taking on the most challenging endurance events he can find. His next event is a 100 mile race through the Himalayas (wow!).
Through mySugr and the JDRF Partner challenges, you can be right there with him – from the comfort of your home, or the highest peak in your neighborhood, whichever rocks your socks.
By completing the challenge you’ll be contributing to the mySugr community points for JDRF. The more community points there are at the end of each month, the more cash mySugr donates to JDRF!
You’ll be helping yourself, helping Chris, and helping JDRF! What’s not to love about that?
When? Where? WHAT?!
I’ll let Chris himself answer the unasked “why?” in just a moment, but first, let’s look at all of the adventures he has planned.
September 2013 – mHealth Grand Tour (Europe)Complete! January 2014 – Trans Andes Challenge (South America)Complete!
- June 2014 – Climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa – and an open challenge for anyone to join Chris!)
- October 2013 – 100 miles Himalaya Stage Race (Asia)
- November 2014 – Antarctic Ice Marathon (Antarctica)
- February 2015 – Coast to Coast (Australasia)
- July 2015 – Cycling from New York to Miami (North America – and an open challenge for anyone to join Chris!)
More About Chris!
We thought you Monster Tamers might like to know more about this crazy adventurer before embarking on a challenge with him, so we pinned him down and put some questions to him before he took off on his next quest:
Tell us a bit about yourself. When were you diagnosed with type 1 diabetes?
At 22, I was having a great summer in the south of France but felt something wasn’t quite right. I had a constant thirst, which I put down to the heat, was going to the loo 8–12 times a night and was very tired in the mornings. After a quick trip to the doctor, I was sent straight to a French Hospital, where I stayed for 10 days, with only one doctor who spoke English. My blood glucose was 43 mmol/l, so I was not in a good way. They looked after me well and transferred me back to hospital in England for another two days. The only person to have diabetes in my family was my Granny who had type 2, so it did come as a surprise when I was diagnosed.
Initially, it was scary. Life was suddenly very uncertain. My head was full of questions like ‘why me?’ and ‘what do I do now?’. I was mainly concerned with how it would affect my snowboarding. But with a great group of supportive friends, family, doctors, nurses and sponsors behind me, I quickly put my doubts and fears to one side. I am not saying times where not hard to start with but I have always had the attitude, “there are millions of people a lot worse of than me, grit your teeth and get on with it.”
Being diabetic has become part of my life and I think life is too short to be negative. I always try and have a very positive outlook and use my experiences to help others. This ranges from doing conferences around the world, riding a monkey bike from John O Groats to Lands End to my new challenge, 7C7A and planning a trip to the North Pole in April 2016.
You do professional snowboarding? That’s pretty awesome! How did that come to be?
When I was eight and my mother was living in the Swiss resort of Flims. I was at boarding school in England but my brother and I went skiing during my winter and Easter holidays. This gave us plenty of time to practice our skills up in the mountains. I quickly realized that I wanted to snowboard professionally. At 17, I went up against the best British riders at the British Snowboard Championships. I was on the podium for all four events and was placed second overall in my age category. This led to my first sponsorship deal with Oakley and put me on the road professionally.
I have been a professional snowboarder for 10 years now. What this means is that I get paid to snowboard. I use to spend the season following the Freeride World Tour Competition circuit but now i concentrate more on filming for snowboard movies and doing quite a few road trips/photo shoots for various publications. I have been living in Verbier for the past 9 years and I am heading back they’re this winter. I am just very excited about this winter, as I have not been snowboarding since May so the 1st of December cant come quick enough.
How did you connect with the guys here at mySugr? What has that been like so far?
I was looking around to find apps that are helping people with diabetes and share the same goal as mine and my 1st port of call was getting in touch with the guys at mySugr. Their app is so good at helping anyone with diabetes to control their sugars with adding fun and exciting elements and rewarding you on looking after yourself. After speaking to the team I knew I wanted to be involved with them and so we have launched a game incorporating the importance of looking after your sugars whilst achieving your goals which is so important. I cant wait to see how it goes and I am so excited to be working with mySugr during my challenges.
You’re currently embarking on a handful of crazy hard athletic endeavors. How did that idea come to you? Why do something so crazy? (a.k.a. The Why!?)
The idea of 7C7A came to me after I did an Iron Man a few years ago. I just wanted to do endurance events in every continent and so I really set about finding fun events to do that are all outside my comfort zone.
The 7C7A Challenge will see me take on 7 of the most demanding endurance events on 7 continents to prove that having diabetes or a chronic illness should not stop sufferers from living their lives to the full.
I want to use the 7C7A Challenge to inspire, educate and motivate people to show what you can achieve. Life is about challenges and this will be my biggest one yet.
I hope that my life experiences will motivate and inspire other people, and particularly young people, which is the reason why I am an ambassador for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and I strongly support the important work it does to find the cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications.
What ever you set your mind too, even with diabetes, with the right control, determination, positive outlook and attitude, you can achieve even your wildest dreams. I’m still living mine. I want to get people with diabetes to feel that they should not hold back and get out and about and explore what the world has to offer which can be playing a round of golf, playing football with your mates, joining a sporting club or running around the world. I want to inspire people that if they look after themselves and are sensible they can achieve anything. Even if I get 10 diabetics out and about doing sports that will make me so happy as that will be 10 more people enjoying their life more. I find with exercise you have better control of your sugars and that makes you so much happier. Then the happier you are the better you look after yourself so its comes around full circle. So I really want people to get outdoors and explore.
Thank you, Chris! You are an incredible inspiration! Thank you for doing what you do, and for allowing us to ride along on your jersey. It’s an absolute honor, my friend!