Forty members of the Riding on Insulin (ROI) Endurance Team
will put a year of training to the test at IRONMAN Wisconsin in Madison on September 11. The four athletes featured here use a Tandem insulin pump to manage their diabetes in their daily life.
The Ironman is widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. Athletes have 17 hours to finish a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run, raced in that order without a break. While some of ROI’s athletes have completed 140.6 mile races before, for many, this will be their first-ever triathlon.
Many members train alongside one another throughout the training season, sharing diabetes management strategies to help each other cross the finish line successfully.
"The ROI Endurance Team is much more than a team, it's like a family,” Nathan Schmittou said.
The Endurance Team and ROI camps provide the peer-support that is often critical to living well with diabetes. The athletes racing are an inspiration to everyone watching and they are investing in the future of diabetes by making ROI programs more accessible to young people with diabetes. The 2015 team raised more than $120,000 to help subsidize costs and provide scholarships for ROI programs. For that we are grateful. To find out more or support ROI programs please visit the website.
Gillian Forsyth, 48
Hometown: Chicago, IL
t:slim G4 Insulin Pump
“The connectivity is the main reason I join this team and I fundraise in support of it. As a person with type 1 diabetes I look at being connected with others like me who pursue athletic goals as a way to moderate their diabetes complications as a way of survival.”
Hometown: Danville, PA
Joe Hannon, 21
t:slim Insulin Pump
“I was always very active before my diagnosis with biking and running and continued this even more after my diagnosis, as I found it helped me better manage the disease both physically and mentally. However, I sometimes struggled because I didn’t know any other people with type 1 diabetes that shared my interests.
I’m racing and fundraising for Riding on Insulin to help kids go to camp. I’ve been to lots of these camps and I’ve seen how important it is for these kids, they get to meet other kids ‘just like them’ who understand what they are going through. They are able to see that even with their diabetes they can live a healthy lifestyle and do anything they want.”
Lauren Salko, 24
Hometown: Park City, UT/Larchmont, NY
t:slim Insulin Pump
“As a professional skier with diabetes I am very excited about teaching kids with type 1 diabetes to ski and snowboard at Riding on Insulin camps.2 When I heard that a group of their athletes were racing Ironman Wisconsin to raise money for this organization that is close my heart I needed to be involved. After volunteering for the team at Ironman last year, I was ready to take the plunge and race. The family I have found in ROI is unparalleled. I am so excited to race among a group of athletes so dedicated and passionate.”
Nathan Schmittou, 27
Hometown: Whitewater, WI
t:slim G4 Insulin Pump
“Ironman has not only provided me with many new lifelong friendships, but it has taught me that if you want something bad enough, set your goals and go out and achieve it, with type 1 diabetes or without.”
About Riding on Insulin’s Endurance Team
The Riding on Insulin (ROI) Endurance team was established in 2015. In its inaugural race at IRONMAN Wisconsin in 2015, the ROI Endurance team consisted of 63 athletes – 36 with type 1 diabetes. The team raised more than $120,000 to help subsidize costs and provide scholarships for Riding On Insulin, an international nonprofit that hosts action sports programs for kids and teens with T1D all over the U.S. and in three other countries.
The team continues to expand to more races and attracts both individuals with no race experience and elite athletes racing prestigious races like the IRONMAN World Championships in Kona, HI. More than 100 athletes will compete in distances from 3.2 miles to 70.3 miles to 140.6 miles. These athletes take on roles as advocates, mentors, and coaches in the diabetes community.
About Riding on Insulin
Riding On Insulin is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit founded in 2010, based in Whitefish, Montana. With ski and snowboard programs across the United States, Canada and New Zealand, ROI empowers, activates and connects the global type 1 diabetes community through shared experience and action sports. In addition to establishing a comfortable environment, the organization strives to help families explore new passions, challenge T1D, and celebrate each other’s successes.
1The t:slim, t:flex, and t:slim G4 Insulin Pumps are watertight to a depth of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes (IPX7 rating). Tandem does not recommend that users shower, bathe, or swim with their pump attached.
From time to time, we may pass along: suggestions, tips, or information about other Tandem Insulin Pump user experiences or approaches to the management of diabetes. However, please note individual symptoms, situations, circumstances and results may vary. Please consult your physician or qualified health care provider regarding your condition and appropriate medical treatment. Please read the Important Safety Information linked below before using a Tandem Diabetes Care product.
2Avoid exposure of your Tandem insulin pump to temperatures below 40° F (5° C), as insulin solutions can freeze at low temperatures.