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Scott Johnson


October 7, 2013

The Endurance Challenge! Do You Have What it Takes?

October 7, 2013 | By | 22 Comments

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!

Endurance-NoShadowChris 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.

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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?

130913_1675At 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?

train 2When 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!?)

_DVS7455The 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!

Spot the Monster?


  1. Nancy

    I am just beginning to use this program and realize how important walk /exercise logging is

    • Scott Johnson

      Way to go, Nancy! Exercise is a challenge, that’s for sure! Good job on getting moving!

  2. Alfred

    Thank you for the inspiration Chris! This app so far has astounded me and takes a fun and motivational turn to make it a point to record your bg, and exercise as well as moods, misc activities etc. I know once this becomes habitual, ill have a better grasp on everything as well as a very detailed log! Keep doing what you do Chris, it brings our hopes up!!! Also Scott thank you for posting this! Great work :)

    • Thanks for stopping by, Alfred (and please excuse my tardy reply – been struggling to keep my head above water these days)!

      I’m so glad to hear that you’re finding Companion helpful. That means the world to us, seriously. Please let us know if you have any suggestions or ideas along the way. We’re always looking for ways to make you guys happier and healthier! :-)

  3. Chris

    I am 41 Years old and 28 Years of diabete. I met last friday my first coma. It was very impressive for me my wife and my daughter. I realize That life is to short so congratulations to Chris for those 7 challenges. Hope I can do the same.

    • Hi Chris! Oh goodness, I’m sorry to hear about that rough episode. I’m glad to hear you’re doing better. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and leave a message!

  4. Chris

    Hi Scott

    Home you’re doing well. This week I’ve met my diabetologue. We have changed my pump dosage. I still had new Hypo and hyper. I love this app even if some features lack. I do think it will help me having a better analysis and a better life.

    • I’m glad to hear you’ve been in to your care team, Chris – I don’t know what I’d do without my doctors. And I think even if we were together able to get all of my pump settings exactly right, I’d still have highs and lows – that’s just part of life with diabetes. Hopefully they weren’t too bad for you.

      We’d love to hear your thoughts on what we can do to make things better in the app – it’s only thanks to people like you sharing how they feel about things that we’ve been able to come this far (but no pressure).

      Thanks again for taking the time to stop back and let us all know how you’re doing! I hope to talk to you again soon!

  5. Lena Conquest

    Im confused how can i compete with you?

    • Hi Lena! Thanks for stopping by! Just simply participating in the challenge is all it takes – check out the “Challenges” section in the side-menu of mySugr Companion on your smartphone. You’ll be doing something great for yourself and helping boost the contribution that is made to JDRF. Great stuff!

  6. Elena

    Hi, I’m Elena. I am 23 and my diabetes was diagnosted 15 years ago. I my puperty I had some really tough times controlling my diabetes. The difficulty was (as you may all know) to stay motivated and now that I know this wonderfull App, I wish it would have been available in those days.
    A year ago I started jogging. In the beginning it was very difficult to controll my bg. That is why I think it is important to have people like Chris.

    • Hi Elena! Oh yes, I think we all know that motivation problem all too well. It comes and goes for me, even today (I’m wayyyyyyy past puberty. Haha!). Super cool to hear that you started jogging! Good for you! Thanks for taking the time to read and let us know how you’re doing. Hope to see you again soon!

  7. William

    Hello all,

    I was diag. With type 2 diabetis 8 yrs ago. I found out in June of this yr I was mis diag and I’m actually a type one diabetic and the treatments that have been tried aren’t working because I’m not over weight. No one else in family has this and I have always been skinny and very active. I wrode bikes,skateboard ,ran track,roller bladed,and even raced atv’s. While at work on a hot summer day I started feeling very thirsty,tired,weak,and disoriented. That night while trying to sleep I went thur a gallon of iced tea. Next day went to work and couldn’t stop drinking everything in site. So I went to the doc to find out my bg was 574. Many doc appts and blood work is was diag. I became very scared,angry,and very depressed. Also thing why me and thinking I have just signed my death sentence. Now 8 yrs later my bg is still uncontrolled, I’m still angry and depressed and I have pretty much given up hope for living a long healthy full filling life. I have tried many different appts to help with bg levels I’ve tried eating better but always end up hungry and angry. This app plus reading about Chris gives me a boost to moral and gives me hope. But I’m currently working 50 plus hrs a week and find it hard to find time for exercise. Since I was diag with this disease, I now where glasses because my site is getting bad, my legs are hurting all the time, I’m tired everyday all day, bg is still uncontrolled and my right ankle has cartlige breaking down and causing extreme pain. I have a 19 mth old son and a 14 yr old daughter. I have realized I’m letting them down. So I m begging for help and support for not only myself but the millions out there like me. Please help show me the way to a healthier diabetic life.

    • Hi William!

      Wow! What a story! I’m sorry you had to go through such a ride with the misdiagnosis. It’s no wonder you were feeling so many of the feelings you had – and you know what else, your story is more common than you might think! Scary, right? There are a lot of people who are diagnosed with what’s called “LADA” or a slow onset version of autoimmune diabetes, which when first diagnosed usually happens later in life and presents a lot like type 2 diabetes. One of our very good friends went through it, too (

      Are you seeing an endocrinologist or diabetes specialist for your care now? That would be a good place to start, along with finding the right CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator) and maybe a nutrition expert. This team can together help get your insulin doses (and other meds) adjusted so that you’re feeling better – both physically and mentally – which will be a huge step towards positive progress for you.

      One really great resource (of many out there) is a community site called TuDiabetes ( Check them out, too. There you will find a TON of people who are also working to find ways to live well with diabetes and help others do so.

      Please keep us posted on how you’re doing, and let us know what we can do to help.

      Thanks again for sharing your story, William! That’s an important piece of the puzzle all by itself!

  8. Danielle

    Kudos, Chris!!! I was just recently diagnosed (less than a week ago) & I REALLY needed to read this! My once cushy, sugar-coated world was turned upside down. For this past week, all I could really see was how diabetes was going to slow me down & make things difficult. Thank you for showing me hope. I know that the next few months will be an adjustment (not to mention, I feel like a human voodoo doll) but I love the idea that it won’t slow me down forever!

    • Hi Danielle!

      Thanks for stopping by and reading! I’m sure your world is absolutely spinning like crazy right now. But rest assured, you’ll get your feet back under you and start kicking butt again before long!

      Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have. There’s a wonderful world of support out here for you to lean on in conjunction with your health care team. :-)

  9. Sarah

    Hi just came across your app!! Just what I needed! I am just coming up to my first year as type 1 – at 53!! autoimmune related I think

    And also struggling to keep BG in check after a holiday to Las Vegas!! And also struggle with time differences would like to know how others manage

    • Hi Sarah! Good of you to stop by! Thank you!

      A holiday in Las Vegas! I’m totally jealous! :-)

      Your question on time zone changes is a big one. Are you on a pump, or doing injections? Are we talking international trips, with really big time changes? Or stuff where there’s just a few hours one way or another? What have your experiences been so far?

      I’m on a pump, and I usually don’t do much besides change to the local time once I arrive. But I’ll also admit that I’m usually a bit stressed, over-tired, and just generally so “travel tired” that my whole system is out of whack for a day or two before things settle down.

      I think injections might be a bit more challenging because you have to time your basal shots just right. I’d love to hear from others about how they manage that…

      Thanks again, Sarah! Hopefully we’ll get some good discussion here!

  10. Hi, I have a question. I have already accepted the challenge. But how do I go about it? I have already logged two readings on the app, but the challenge still shows 0℅ complete.

    • Hi!

      Way to go!

      Sounds like something’s not working quite right with the progress bar… but keep logging your tests and you should get an unmistakable win message and badge in your achievements area once you win. Keep at it! :-)

  11. Tomorrow having foot surgery but in about 2 months will be back at the Y with my water aerobics,walking and yoga! I can’t wait!

    • Hi Susan!

      Wishing you all the best for your surgery! I’m sure you’ll have a quick recovery and be back in action in no time at all (2 months sounds long, but I’m sure it will fly by). Please keep us posted on how you’re doing!

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