Plano resident Don Muchow is gearing up to run across Texas and plans to make an appearance in Weatherford.
The 57-year-old Type 1 diabetic man is planning to pass through Weatherford on April 11 via U.S. 180. His route is from El Paso to Texarkana, a total of 850 miles.
Muchow’s goal is to connect with other Type 1 diabetics along the route and be a positive example, he said.
“Over the years, I’ve been lucky to meet more and more type 1 athletes and learn from them,” Muchow said. “The Texas and U.S. runs are my way of paying forward the blessings I’ve been given in meeting those people.”
Type 1 diabetes results in the pancreas producing no or little insulin, which is the hormone that allows sugar to produce energy in cells.
Unlike Type 2 diabetes, Type 1 is caused by genetic factors and doesn’t have to do with aging or eating certain foods, Medical City Weatherford Dr. Sakthiraj Subramanian said. Type 1 diabetics can face complications with their hearts, kidneys or eyes.
Subramanian said both types of diabetics should be making time for exercise.
“Every hour, they should get up and walk for at least five to 10 minutes,” Subramanian said.
Muchow was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1972 and was told not to exercise because activity reduces blood sugar. Muchow stayed away from exercise until 2004 when he encountered complications with his vision.
“For some reason, that really struck a very deep emotional chord with me,” Muchow said. “Nothing had ever been taken away from me before because of diabetes.”
The Texas run isn’t his first long-distance run. Last year, Muchow ran 339 miles across Iowa, and he plans to run across the continental U.S. next year.
Muchow decided to run through Texas to prepare for the U.S. run and because he is familiar with Texas terrain, he said.
While in Weatherford, Muchow said he might stop at the Malt Shop on U.S. 180 at about lunchtime.
“I look forward to stops like that because it’s on my long runs that I can dial my insulin way back and occasionally eat things like malteds because my body demands a fair bit of energy on those days,” Muchow said.
While Muchow is on his run, his wife Leslie Nolen manages route changes and makes sure they stay on track. She also handles communication with people who want to join them on the route, she said. Nolen said she has seen other Type 1 diabetics join the run to tell Muchow that he’s inspired them.
“The coolest thing of all is when we’re out on these runs is that grandparents bring their kids or grandkids that have been diagnosed with Type 1 out to see that you can still do almost anything you want to do,” Nolen said. “You can still be almost anything you want to be. There are still some jobs that are off limits, but it’s not a real long list of limitations.”