London-based Limerick actress Clare Langford is running the Brighton Marathon for Diabetes UK.
Clare told The Irish World she was inspired to run the marathon for such a good cause as she has many family members who are affected by diabetes and she has seen the good work done by charities like Diabetes UK and Diabetes Ireland.
Clare also set herself the challenge to increase her fitness after struggling with long COVID.
Clare told The Irish World: “My younger sister has type one diabetes, and it’s quite prevalent in my family.
“My grandfather had it, and my uncle as well. And we have a couple of cousins as well.
“So I figured if I was going to keep motivated running through January, I better have a good cause to run for.”
Clare has never run a marathon before and set herself the challenge after recovering from COVID.
“This is the first time I’m doing something where there’s a time and a distance that I have to hit.
“I’ve been running since I was about 16 but I’ve never, ever done anything competitive or any sort of challenge as such.
“I had COVID at the end of 2020 and that kind of knocked me for six so I had to stop running for half of 2021.
“It was pretty nasty. I thought I would struggle with having to isolate in for 10 days, but I couldn’t get out of bed, I was shattered.
“It was a good month before I started to feel normal again, in terms of energy levels and that kind of thing.
“I didn’t start running again until May because of the combination of long COVID, fatigue and breathlessness and all the rest of it.
“And then I started running again and trying to build up fitness and endurance levels.
“I was doing pretty well with it and I thought, ‘Well, I’ve always been really into it, why not kind of give myself a challenge and give myself something to run towards?’
“My younger sister Jean, who has diabetes, has been doing a lot of advocacy work in Ireland to try and get more awareness around the facilities available to people with diabetes.
“She’s got an Instagram page (@the_dia_being_mindset) that she runs, she hosts events online and in person to provide support to people with diabetes.
“So I thought, ‘Why not kill two birds with one stone?’
“So it was a good challenge for me to get my running back to where it was before COVID.
“And then also, if I can raise a bit of money from doing it, then double win.”
Clare and her family have seen that facilities for people with diabetes have been somewhat lacking.
“There isn’t a great deal of awareness.
“Certainly in Ireland- I don’t know so much about it in the UK- but certainly in Ireland, Jean had to really fight to get any sort of proper support.
“She was diagnosed she was only 10.
“The technology has massively improved. The support systems are there but you have to fight tooth and nail to get them.
“That’s both from the medical point of view as well as just a mental point of view because it’s a lot for someone to deal with when they’re young and they’re suddenly having to take injections on a daily basis and monitor their food.
“So I think there hasn’t been a great deal of support up to now but it seems to be improving but it’s a slow process.
“Charities like Diabetes UK or Diabetes Ireland have forums in place where they can support people and give people advice and teach people how to advocate for themselves and how to get the technology they need which will actually massively improve their health and quality of life just by simple things. Instead of having to constantly take injections, you can have a little pump that monitors your blood sugar for you which means that you can have a much more normal routine without having to constantly disappear to inject themselves.
“So the technology is there, but it’s just teaching people how to access it and how to get the funding that they need for it.”
Clare has already raised £621 which is in excess of her initial £500 target.
“It’s fantastic,” she says of the support.
“There were a few days there when the weather was not great and I was trying to find the motivation to get out so it was good to bear in mind that I had something that I was running for.”
Clare is the sister of Limerick songstress Emma Langford.
Clare also co-wrote the short film, Mr. Wong’s Lullaby which is described as a quirky drama about dementia and the life of carer.
The film has been accepted to many festivals and is set for its Irish premiere at the Fastnet Short Film Festival in May.
The Brighton Marathon is on Sunday 10 April.
You can donate to Clare’s fundraiser by clicking here.