South Warwickshire woman set to be the first diabetic woman to complete the Marathon de Sables - The Leamington Observer

South Warwickshire woman set to be the first diabetic woman to complete the Marathon de Sables

Leamington Editorial 30th Mar, 2023 Updated: 4th Apr, 2023   0

A DIABETIC woman hailing from south Warwickshire is making history by embarking upon the world’s toughest footrace.

Charlotte Hurst is taking on the Marathon des Sables – a brutal 250km seven-day race across the Sahara desert deemed the toughest footrace in the world, which has previously claimed the lives of three people.

If successful, Charlotte, who was born in Leamington, will be the first British female with a myriad of health conditions including Type 1 diabetes to have completed the challenge.

She also manages rheumatoid arthritis, coeliac disease and a thyroid condition.

However, the 42-year-old has devoted her life to wellbeing, sports and fitness – and monitors her health through private blood testing, from UK provider Medichecks.

She said: “If I get to the finish line in April I believe I’ll be only the second woman with type 1 diabetes to have completed the MDS. There have been a handful of men that have taken on the challenge, but no one has done it competitively.”

A lifelong competitive athlete, Charlotte was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of 28 and was forced to abandon training for three months while her body adjusted to the changes.

She continued: “My diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis have both stopped me from doing things previously, so I vowed to myself I would get it under control. Paying attention to correct nutrition and being as physically fit as possible has really helped me get to a place where it won’t stop me again.”

Charlotte’s unrelenting commitment to training and physical endurance events balances her mental health, following a troubling period, when her ex-partner committed suicide.

She said: “The number one reason why I do this is for my mental health, more so than the physical. I’ve always been a fitness fanatic but it’s because of how it makes me feel. My happy place is when I know I’m challenging myself and that’s what I really get a kick out of.”

In April, Charlotte will head to Morocco alone to tackle the feat, which takes place over seven days in extreme conditions, reaching 45 degree heat. The distance is the equivalent of six regular marathons. Her preparations have included running 90 miles across three days in December, plus a ‘mini Marathon Des Sables’ starting on Christmas Day, where she ran 20 miles a day for six days.

Charlotte follows a strict diet to ensure she gets the nutrients her body needs to compete, and tracks her health through monitoring devices that assess her vital signs on-demand.

She added: “I love data, I love science, and I love numbers, so for me, checking my biomarkers is part and parcel of optimising my health. Personally, I don’t think you can do without it. Things can change so quickly, so it’s brilliant that it’s possible to do things yourself and take responsibility. People should be accountable to themselves for their wellbeing. Be the CEO of your own health is my advice.”

To donate to Charlotte’s MDS mission visit


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