ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A St. Augustine woman is taking charge of her health while also bringing awareness to Type 1 Diabetes. She is doing it on a big stage.
Christina Collings is running in the TCS New York City Marathon on November 7, which became the largest marathon in the world in 2019. It will be her first race ever.
Even with a scaled-down field this year, more than 30,000 runners are set to compete.
Collings says she never considered herself a runner but wants to do something that shows Type 1 diabetes does not dictate her every move in life.
“Over the past year I’ve felt like I’ve tried to take charge of my physical health,” Collings said. “So, I guess I saw this as an opportunity to prove to myself that I can actually do it.”
Collings is one of 50 people with diabetes competing in the race to bring awareness to the auto-immune disease.
They are on the team called “Beyond Type 1,” which is a nonprofit that helps improve the lives of those with diabetes.
Collings was diagnosed 12 years ago when she was 9 years old. She says the journey was tough early on.
“I felt more like an outcast and felt like I could not do the normal activities that 10-year-olds at the time were doing,” Collings said. “(There were times my) sugar was so low that I felt like I could not see straight or nearly went unconscious a couple of times.”
Type 1 diabetes occurs when the pancreas produces little to no insulin, which is needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy.
For a while, Collings said it was hard doing some of her favorite things like scuba diving or playing tennis.
But things have improved for Collings over the years, including wearing an insulin pump that also monitors her glucose levels, instead of giving herself daily shots.
“To know that I do not have to be embarrassed about diabetes and I don’t have to feel that I’m held back by diabetes,” she said. “Diabetes is going to come along for the ride.”
Collings says the date of the TCS New York City Marathon is special because it is her father’s birthday. Collings is dedicating the race in part to him because she says her father has been with her every step of the way since her diagnosis.