Greg Weintraub Is Outrunning His Diabetes

He's the captain of Joslin Diabetes Center's Boston Marathon team.
Greg Weintraub

Greg Weintraub. Photo provided

For Greg Weintraub, like so many others, running is an escape. But Weintraub, 23, isn’t escaping work or personal stress; he’s temporarily leaving his type 1 diabetes behind.

For the 14 years since his diagnosis, Weintraub has been beholden to his insulin pump—except when he runs.

“I remember the first time I went running [and took it off],” he says. “Being able to run a mile away from that pump was one mile away from the most tangible sign of my diabetes.”

Now, the Sudbury native is running quite a bit farther than a mile. He’s training for this year’s Boston Marathon, a race he’ll run as captain of the Joslin Diabetes Center team. His fundraising, which will go toward Joslin’s diabetes research efforts, is on pace to top $35,000.

“Joslin’s always been there,” Weintraub says of his motivation. “This run is very much a run for Joslin. We’re working together.”

Indeed, it took quite a bit of work to get to this point. When Weintraub set out to run his first marathon (this will be his fourth marathon and third Boston), he says there were hardly any resources for teaching him to manage his blood sugar while running long distances. His doctors, he says, were initially anxious at the thought of him removing his pump for 26.2 miles.

“There’s no standard method of care, there’s no playbook, there’s no rulebook to say, ‘Hey, here’s what to do if you want to run a marathon with type 1 diabetes,'” he says. “This is uncharted territory. It’s like running through the night with a little headlamp.”

Slowly, Weintraub and his doctors at Joslin pieced together a plan, which grows more finely tuned with each marathon he runs. Now, Weintraub knows that he needs to pull over to check his blood sugar and have an insulin injection roughly every six miles, downing a Gu or a Gatorade if his numbers start to dip.

Despite those pitstops, Weintraub says he’s hoping to finish in less than four hours this year. In the end, though, he’s not running for the time on the clock.

“As I turn onto Boylston, I look around at every single person that’s with me on the course, every single person that’s watching and cheering and coming together for this Boston Marathon,” he says. “What running comes down to is never the time. It’s the people that get you to the start, and then get you from the start to the finish.”

To donate to Weintraub’s fundraising efforts, visit crowdrise.com.