DID YOU KNOW? Over 130,000 Australians have Type 1 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common chronic disease in children, and is more common than cancer and cystic fibrosis.
DID YOU KNOW? People with Type 1 diabetes face many serious long term health complications.
Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong incurable disease, and without daily insulin injections people with Type 1 diabetes would die.
DID YOU KNOW? The cost to Australia of Type 1 diabetes is estimated to be $600m per annum.
DID YOU KNOW? Over 275 people a day are newly diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.
DID YOU KNOW? Nearly 1 million Australians have Type 2 diabetes.
DID YOU KNOW? The cost to Australia of diabetes is nearly $7billion per annum.
DID YOU KNOW? Over 60% of people with Type 2 diabetes can overcome it with fitness and healthy lifestyle.

4 DESERT GRAND SLAM FINALLY COMPLETE (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Hi All
Against all set backs and close calls during the year, as well as all doubts and disbeleivers, our team finally finihsed the 4 deserts Grand Slam.
To say I am proud of our teams achievement and every person in the team who made this happen is an understatement.
Not only are we the only team to attempt and achieve this feat, within our team other milestones have been set.

Matt is the youngest ever competitor to do the 4 Deserts Grand Slam.
Ron, is second oldest.
Rog & Jess are the first couple
Rog is first person with Type 1 diabetes
Myself and Matt are the first father and son.

WOW.

The last day was going to be called off as the winds gusted to 40 knots, and we faced the prospect of being given our medals on the ship, missing out on a proper running finish.
But the ship moved location and the weather front passed, and we got out for a run starting at 5pm in light snow. It was a short run of under 2 hours, but at least we got to officially cross the finish line to end our epic 2012 journey. I think our team came around 15th or so for this event.

The course was a flat 1.5 km out and back course in soft snow, which took a couple of laps to pack a track in. We did 8 laps or 12km in 1.40 or so, which was slow but we didnt care. We stopped a couple of times as a group of penguins made their way across our course, and we gave them plenty or room as we are required to keep a good distance. It was quite amusing as the race leaders had just lapped us, and then next thing we were all standing in a group with the leaders chatting to them, while we all waited for the penguins to clear the course.

Anyway, we said that we would go to the ends of the earth to raise awareness and funds for Type 1 diabetes, and here we are at the ends of the earth hopefully doing that, but even though this part of our journey is nearly over, its time to think about the next phase.

Its been a huge year, with a lot of effort and support put in by many people to make this happen. Thanks to all involved! Its hard to beleive we have done it, and turned a crazy dream to reality, but we have done just that.
It will be great to see the highlights on film when James puts it together.
I now have a the biggest brownie point defecit of my life, so I will need to work hard now to reduce this, which starts with Raylenes birthday on the day we return to Sydney.

We might get to blog again later as we have a 3 day boat trip back to Ushuaia ... we are now so far south that we are not seeing any darkness at the moment, so hard to know when its time to have a beer or two.

Anyway cheers for now, will blog further, after I read the blog replies.

HILL REPEATS (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012
Yesterday was a short day with a 2 hour run around a 1.2km circuit. It was straight uo a huge hill in soft snow, and straight back down again.

This was the first day running on the actual Antarctica mainland. The other days have all been on islands.
As I am a big guy, the two weakest parts of my running are going up big hills, and coming down big hills, so as this was 100% of the course it was not too much fun.

It was quite warm, and after I sweated so much and was soaking, I got quite cold.

In 2 hours we covereed 6 loops or 7.2km, so that gives you an idea of the slow pace. The views from the course were however amaziing, and we could have fitted in another loop or so, but we spent quite a bit of time filining with the team by James, which involved stopping chatting and some specific shots required.

We came back to the ship for a hot shower and dinner, and then returned to the shore and camped out the night, amongst the penguins which was quite an experience. I slept on and off as it was light all night and the penguins never shut up. Also we were told that sometimes the glacier breaks off into the water and causes a huge wave, which has been know to wash campers into the water. On quite a few occaisions I woke with dread to a thunderous noise from the mountain, which was ice and sow shifting, but everything ws OK.

We are niow waiting to arrive at our new destination for our last days run, we should get there by around 10am, which means running by 11am or so, so it looks like it will be another 8 or 9 hour day if the weather holds. Unfrotunately Ron was ill last night, and was put on antibiotics, and told to stay on the ship. We are keeping our fingers crossed he will wake up well enoiugh to run, so we can complete our teams final mission for what has been a huge year..

Other than Ron the rest of tne team are fighting fit..

Will blog again after its all over..

We then have 3 days travel to get back to Ushuaia. 

Love to all

Rest and Sightseeing (Greg Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
Day 2 saw no running due to high winds. We moved location but by the time we got to the new location , it was late in the day, and the only place possible to run was overrun with Penguins.

They took us to shore and we got to hang out with hundreds of penguins for a couple of hours or so, and it was great to have the time to just be around them and watch their antics (but not so much to smell them).

James did some interview filming and photography, and we got a shot of our team "running" with penguins in the background which was good. When we left the island the zodiac took us on a bit of a tour around the bay, which was great to see some of the amazing scenery up close.

Its now the morning of day 3, and we think we may have around a 10 hour run in front of us if the sunny weather holds and the course is OK when it is set out. Its possible we might be doing 2km loops, so we could be getting a bit dizzy after 10 hours!

We will need to try and keep up a good pace to at least hold our placing in the field that we established on day 1.
All the team doing well, so we should have an OK day.

Will blog again after the days run.

Bye for now.

Round and Round We Go (Greg Donovan)

Thursday, November 29, 2012
This mornings cruise to our new destination was amazing as we motored through a chanel for a few hours, that had hundreds of icebergs of all shapes and sizes floating around.

When we got to our final destination, it was 360deg stunning. Pictures, words, videos or otherwise cant depict it, just standing there taking in the most spectacular view you can imagine in alll directions. Heaps of penguins too. Quite amazing!

Anyway we couldn't look at it for too long as we had serious running business to attend to. The weather was sunny and a couple of degrees plus at the start. The course was a 3.2km loop, climbing about 100m altitude up quite a steep incline to a ridge, running a gentle downhill down the ridge and dropping down off the ridge and about 800m back to the start. The views from all parts of the course were great.

We started at 11.30 am, and run through to 8pm. We ran pretty well all day with no breaks or rest, and although we planned to try and cover 15 or 16 loops, we only managed 14. This was a pretty good result though as the course became difficult in some places, and it seemed the big hill got a bit steeper every lap. It got a lot colder and I also got a bit of fatigue as the day went on. Luckily I had my hired help (Matt) to give me a push up the big hill in the later stages of the race. I owe him a few beers, once we are allowed to have one (not until the event is over... not much fun watching all of the other non running passengers having a beer, while we stick to water and coke!)

Not sure how our overall results are going, we may have dropped a place or two, but still going pretty well.
Tommorow we are running in 2 locations for about 3 hours each apparantly, which should be challenging (what's not challenging about running down here!)

Anyway its 10.30 pm and I am Wallaby Ted .... As in Roo Ted) , and about to hit the sack. The team is all going really well, no problems, other than Ron has a cold, but of course nothing seems to stop him. Matt is keeping a close eye on me which is good.

2 more days running to go. I know its not over till the fat lady sings, but I think she is out the back puttting on her makeup.
Cant wait to get this thing done.

By the way we are now so far south, that its not getting dark at the moment. The darkest point is around midnight, and then by around 3am it is pretty much full daylight.

Thanks for all your blog comments, they really help us. Will blog again hopefully after tomorrows runs.

Love to all.

Long Long Day (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Our first day at Antarctica we were greeted with favourable weather. Temps around -1 and mild breeze, with occaisional sunshine. Our first day was at King George Island which has several international stations there, including China and Russia. The course was 14km, with a central check point in the middle, so always somewhere to check in in the middle of each lap.

There was a real buzz as the small field gathered at the start, and before we knew it we were off and running at around 8.15 am.
The course was quite undulating with some decent hills to climb and descend, and we decided not to chase a lot of the front running bunnies, confident that our constant steady pace would eventually haul many of them in over 12 hours. As the day wore on and sun came out, the running course started to get slushy, a bit like mashed potato, and running became harder. There were some horror sections where you didnt know if your foot would sink up to your knee with every step. Being the heaviest in the team, this seemed to happen to me more than the others.
We had a welcome stop for lunch after 2 and half laps, where we spent 17 miuntes having some hot food, drinking and recovering.

We did some calculations, and figured out we would aim for 5 and half laps for the day, but we would need to push hard to do this. (we thought maybe 6 laps would be possible at the start of the day, but as the day went on, the course deteriortated and fatigue set in we downgraded our target to 5.5).

We finished our 5th full lap at 8pm, after 11.45 out there, and asked/begged to be allowed to go out for another half lap. We were the last to be let through. Half way through the final half lap I was wondering whey we did this, as the temp plummeted, and I was staggering along wobbling from side to side like a drunk. We were the last on the course when we finished at 9.40pm, and the cold was intense(the finish line was already packed up and the Zodiacs were ready and waiting to get us back to the boat) We were however rewarded by getting our KM up to 77 for the day, and are now placed 12th which is a great result to start our week down here. I reckon covering 77km across a difficult course was a great achievement for the team. Everyone is doing well, and Ron keeping stats as usual. A little bit of a push along from behind by Matt helped me up a couple of the final hills. The next place behind us is now 7km in arrears and has lots of work to do to catch us.

My lips not doing too well, forgot the lip screen yesterday, bad mistake. Wont be doing that again. Our faces looked frightful when we finished, Matt got photos on his I phone.
James covered probably 20km to do his filming, and there will be great footage there.

Looks like day 2 might be cancelled, as the winds are now gusting to 50 knots (over 85kmh), the shore at deception island has ice sheet surrounding, and not accesibale by Zodiac.
The captain briefed us and said they would now look at alternative venues to get to later thismorning. Someone in the crowd piped up and suggested "Hawaii!" which casued great laughter (and general agreement).

Thats it for now. I will blog again after our next run, whenever that might be.

Cheers

Nearly There! (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Hi all

Just a quick blog from the ship. Its 3 pm Saturday arvo, and not much more than 12 hours until we reach our first destination, King George island.

We will start running soon after. Rumour has it, that it will be a 15 hour running day.

Anyway all going well. Ship is very nice and comfortable, meals are good, showers hot.

Although there is a lot of rocking and rolling going across Drakes Passage, I have had no seasick issues. Roger is the only one to suffer a bit.

We have had quite a few lectures on Antarctica, the wildlife and various activities available. We had to vacuum all of our equipment, to prevent taking any nasties onto Antarctica. Now getting excited about getting there.

James is doing a good job, and he has downloaded and edited everything so far.

Otherwise passing the time reading eating, talking to fellow competitors and generally resting up.

Will blog again sometime after the first running day.

Love to all

Antarctica Here We Come (Greg Donovan)

Wednesday, November 28, 2012
After a few days in Ushuaia the team are keen to get going, and get on the boat to Antarctica. Matt was sick when we arrived, but has now recovered, and our lost bags have turned up, so we are all looking good. A bit of touring around Ushuaia including a walk and run on the nearby Glacier, and a drive around the National Park have helped us pass our time here. A 1000km 60 hour journey across the Drake Passage now awaits this afternoon, and we are armed with every seasick remedy know to mankind including such weird ones as Vicks Vapour rub on belly buttons. It's been a long and challenging year for our team, and it will be great to hit the ice and get running, to hopefully finish this years Grand Slam, and be the first team to ever do so. Keep up to date with our teams blogs over the coming week. We start the final leg with a 100km stage on King George Island on Sunday 25th ..... Sounds like a great way to get warmed up for the week. Look out penguins .... here we come!!

Gobi Done and Dusted - 2 Deserts Done -Greg

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Firstly thanks for all your blog comments which I have read, it really helps to see the support we are getting, and has been a great help to Matt in getting through this week.

The long day is always the make or break of these types of events, so our team decided to approach the day with caution, and just keep moving forward towards the finish line. Our time was not important, as circumstances have prevented us from showing our true  potential results, but what has been achieved is so much more significant than a quick time. We have shown that as a team we can do it under difficult circumstances, and Matt and Roger have demonstrated courage and determination to push through for the team, whilst being sick ALL WEEK. On days 3 Matt was as sick as I have ever seen him, and at checkpoint 2 on that day it was as close to over as we could have come. What stirred in him, to get off the ground and carry on I do not know, but he  did. Especially knowing that even if that day could somehow be completed all he had to look forward to was the brutal day 4, and then the long day of 75km after that. At the end of day 3 wrapped shivering in a blanket in the medical tent, Matt deteriorated further and was at his lowest ebb. So to come back and complete 115k of very difficult terrain over the next 2 days was as close to a miracle as you could get. It reminds me of a saying “If you are going through hell, then just keep going”.

Day 5 was a long day for us, and we crossed the line in 12.16, and amazingly the very minute the sun set behind the mountains. Very symbolic of our whole race.

The day started with Rogers stomach in a bad way having been up to the loo 3 times during the night, and Matt still feeling quite ordinary. They both had to also go to the loo (no2) a couple of times on the course and Matt had some drugs at checkpoint 3 to help. To top things off his nose also started to bleed. Contrary to the course description, the first 36km was vey hard with 700m cumulative altitude gain, rocky territory, and big ravines to climb in and out of like billy goats.

At 40km we were rewarded with a long downhill, and we got into a good run, and we managed to run/walk the next 20km passing many. But at 60km Matt (and myself) were totally spent, sore and tired as we had run out of food at around 50km, and lack of energy and a bit of dehydration set in. So the last 15km were just a fast walk, eventually slowing as we neared the finish. We were too exhausted to celebrate too much, but just relieved to be finished, and after collecting our water headed straight to bed, with just a recoverite shake for dinner.

Its been an incredible week, all of the team have been amazing and strong, and the spirits and determination have been high. All in all, a difficult but inspiring experience for  our team. We are all missing home and I’m sure Matt (and myself) will have a break from training as we recover. We are currently placed 65th, which considering the week we have had  is still good, and we may even pick up a few places on the 15km sprint home tomorrow.

The 5 desert dream lives on for now, with our minds soon turning to Sahara at the end of October.

Not sure if I can blog again, but if not, keep your eyes out for the final leg results, and I’m sure there will be some good pics on the website.

Our cameraman James, has some fantastic footage and awesome photos, and once the film is compiled is will surely show a real life drama.

Now getting ready for Desert Ashes , Aussies vs Poms cricket this afternoon. I’m sure we will beat the poms!.

See you all back at home.

Cheers

Stage 4 - Brutal but Beautiful -Greg

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Firstly thanks for all those that have sent blog replys to Matt. He will draw much strength from them when he reads them tonight, as we rest and prepare for the long day.

It has been an amazing day. After I took matt from medical tent back to our tent last night, he had deteriorated further, and was not well, but managed to eat and then straight to sleep. The chances of him starting day 4 seemed slim. However when he woke he said ‘my stomach is still bad but im feeling better so think I will give it a crack’ after 2 dashes to the toilets, our packs were on and we headed to the start line,with a 400m altitude gain 3km climb to heavens gate, a huge natural archway the height of the empire state building. The views from up there were amazing. we needed to remove our backpacks and climb ladders to get up there. Of course having started, the strategy was just to manage our pace and do whatever we needed to finish, with our time not important. Todays course can only be described as brutal and after the first climb and then descent we did about a 16 km stint of endless huge up and down hills, which were very steep and very long and the downhills quite technical with large drop offs if you fell. The first 10km took 3 hours including 2 loo breaks for matt, and a dose of gastrostop, which seemed to help him. The course makes six Foot track look like a leisurely bushwalk. But today Matt was  a man on  a mission and was not going to let the hills stop him. The mood in the team was more upbeat today, and we just pushed on hour after hour, and eventually finished in 8hrs 45, which was a great mid pack result,which was very inspirational to the team, and makes me very proud of Matt. Everyone else in the team is all going well, so if Matt continues to improve we should have a reasonable long day of 75km tomorrow, and finish this thing off.

Myself I ran on 5 snakes today, and sports drink, as I am short on food and needed to preserve it for the long day. This effort would normally deserve 6 bacon and egg rolls, but that will have to wait.

Will blog again ,but wont be until the day after the long day, as we will be in late, all going well.

Day 3 -Greg

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hi to all. It has been a very difficult and distressing day for the team. Matt woke thismorning with a fever and bad headache, and was unable to eat breakfast, and lucky to be walking. Neverthless he decided to start the day and see how things went. What transpired was nothing short of sheer courage by Matt who struggled badly just to move forward. To get to each checkpoint was amazing, and every checkpoint (except for the last) he was about to pull out, which would have been fine with me, as it was terrible to watch what he was going through.

At checkpoint 2 after 20km he was close to tears, and quite scared about the situation, but bravely decicded to proceed. I had to help push him up hills from behind, he could have stopped at any point, but had the occaisional slightly better spell which kept him going. It was just a slow trudge all day, much like the death march. At checkpoint 3 Matt had another rest before a long 9km walk up a neverending hill gaining over 500m of altitude.

The finish couldnt come soon enough and we crossed the line in about 8.15.. and effort from Matt much more impressive than a top 10 finish.

Matt is now sleeping in the medical tent, and we will asses the situation again in the morning. His temp is OK his hydration and salt levels are also OK, but he is just not well. Best place would be in bed not trudging 37km across difficult terrain. Tommorow is the hardest of the short days with endless 50metre hills, and is titled "stairway to heaven", but sounds much more like stairway to hell... and then the long day after that. If Matt does feel a bit better in the morning and decides to proceed it iwill just be a matter of survival and finishing. If he doesnt, there is no shame. The rest if the team is fine and pulling together to support Matt. Wiill repost tomorrow with an update. Please send messages of support to Matt, as he is unlikely to blog tonight.