Diabetes Health Type 1: Running For The Olympics

Kate Hall is so close to the Olympics, and the track and field phenom is hoping that Iowa State University will be her ticket to the global playing field.

Set to graduate from high school in May, Hall is both disciplined and determined, much of which comes from her diagnosis of type 1 diabetes at age 10. Since she was one of the one in five who also has celiac disease, her diet not only restricts carbs, but also gluten. The double diagnosis forced Hall to fine tune her food choices, not only to maintain her health, but also to provide fuel for both quick spurts and long-distance endurance runs.

Always athletic as a child, she began training about the same time she was diagnosed with diabetes. In a few short years has catapulted herself in the record books as one of the top track and field athletes in Maine’s history.

The senior holds state records outdoors in the 100 and 200-meter runs and the long jump. Indoors, she holds records in the 55, 200 and long jump and has never been beaten at a Class B state meet.
Her records have earned her a full athletic scholarship to Iowa State. Where she expects the coach’s dedication to each individual on his team to help her be the best she can be, and help guide her toward her Olympic goals.

Hall’s diabetes won’t be the thing to hold her back. She has long worn an insulin pump, but originally she used a detachable pump with tubes that had to be removed during competitions. Since those day-long meets often included back-to-back events, controlling her blood sugar levels proved difficult.

After switching to an OmniPod, however, she is able to adjust her insulin between events, so she can control highs and lows while running.

Hall’s best event is the long jump, in which she has a personal best of 20’ 11’’. The Olympic standard for qualifying is 21’ 11’’, so she is only one foot off. Since she’s been gaining a foot during every year of training throughout high school, she’s realistically within reach.
She attributes her success to a pulled hamstring she suffered in middle school, an injury that led her to seek out trainer Chris Pribish to help her safely heal.

“It was a blessing in disguise,” she said, adding that the trainer helped her perfect her running technique and helped her develop her record-setting skills.

And while her long jump is impressive, she is more likely to place in the 100-yard dash, which has a qualifying standard of 11.31, since her personal best is 11.45.

“I’m pretty close,” said Hall, who plans to major in kinesiology (exercise science) when she starts college in the fall.

Her studies will only help her improve in track and field events as she learns more about her body and its muscular makeup and bring her Olympic dreams more into focus.

“I try to take things one day at a time, one meet at a time, [but] I’m pretty excited,” she said.