A team of professional diabetic cyclists are attempting to make history this week by completing a 1,200km course in South Africa in just 48 hours.
From 7 to 9 November, Team Novo Nordisk will participate in the Changing Diabetes Cycling Challenge, an annual non-stop cycling marathon from Johannesburg to the city of George, in the country’s Western Cape Province.
The team, which consists of 16 cyclists from 10 different countries who all have well-controlled type 1 diabetes, are attempting the race in a bid to help raise awareness of type 1 diabetes, as well as funds for children with the lifelong disease from poor communities who do not have access to the medication and care they need.
In addition, this year’s event will include free diabetes screening and testing at various places along the 1,200km route.
Team Novo Nordisk CEO and co-founder, Phil Southerland, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just seven months old. He took up cycling at the age of 12 and soon discovered that it helped greatly in managing his condition.
After gradually rising through the ranks as a junior and then senior cyclist, Phil helped put together the world’s first all-diabetes pro-cycling team in 2005 as a way of educating and inspiring people affected by diabetes.
“All the members of Team Novo Nordisk share a passion for competitive cycling and showing the world what’s possible with great diabetes control. We are living proof that you can live your dreams, despite diabetes,” he said.
“It is our mission to prove that diabetes need not slow you down. If your diabetes is well-managed, there is nothing you can’t do, including being a professional cyclist.”
The team of dedicated cyclists, which is currently sponsored by Danish healthcare company Novo Nordisk, has taken part in many sporting events around the world and their long-term goal is to one day participate in the prestigious Tour de France.

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