T1D 4x4x48 marathon raises funds for diabetes research

Photo courtesy of the Prince Albert Mintos Facebook Page Jason Holtvogt (centre) poses for a photo with his sons Brady (left) and Seth (right) after completing the final leg of the 4x4x48 Ultra-Marathon for Type 1 Diabetes research.

It’s not a challenge for the faint of heart, but an ultramarathon ran over the weekend helped raise money for Type 1 Diabetes research.

Jason Holtvogt ran four miles every four hours in a 48-hour period last weekend to help raise funds for the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation Canada (DRIFCan). It was the third consecutive year that Holtvogt has completed the ultramarathon.

Holtvogt says the ultramarathon presented a unique mental challenge.

“It isn’t a physical challenge. It’s a mental challenge because at the end of the day, it’s just four miles or 6.5 kilometers that you’ve got to run every 4 hours, which you can walk, you can bike it or you can run it. There is no timer. You don’t need to be at a certain time. It’s a mental challenge of waking up, going out there and doing it. So physically, I trained a bit about three months before. This year, it didn’t work out but I pulled it off for the third year in a row.”

Type 1 Diabetes has a uniquely personal impact on Holtvogt’s life. His youngest daughter Aubree, age 9, was diagnosed as a Type 1 Diabetic at the age of four.

After finding research done by Dr. James Shapiro and team at the University of Alberta, Holtvogt says he wanted to do everything he could to help improve the quality of life for all Type 1 Diabetics in the future.

“It’s very close to our heart. A cure for Type 1 diabetes would dramatically impact our daughter’s life in the long term. I’m stubborn enough, so I can show people what it looks like to be sleep deprived and go through this mental challenge that a lot of Type 1s go through more often than you’d like.”

The goal of the research being conducted by Dr. Shapiro and team is to develop stem cells that could have the potential to provide the patient with sufficient levels of insulin without the body’s immune system attacking the new stem cells. At the current moment, patients have to take immunosuppressive medications to prevent this or take regular insulin injections.

The ultramarathon received plenty of support from the Prince Albert Mintos. Holtvogt’s oldest son, Brady, spent his 15-year-old season in goal last season with the Mintos.

Holtvogt says the Minto organization have been incredibly supportive of the event.

“The PA Mintos were incredibly generous with their support and donated the jersey for the auction and being our son plays with the Mintos. They’ve always been very supportive. Last year, they supported the same event and this year again, they supported the event with some donations. So, we’re incredibly thankful for their participation in this event.”

Including proceeds from the ultramarathon, the Humboldt and Area Team T1D (Type 1 Diabetes) has raised over $68,000 at the time of publishing.

Holtvogt says there is already lots of anticipation for the ultramarathon event in 2024.

“Everyone that ran it wants to be involved with planning it next year and is incredibly excited about next year’s event. It just was the most positive environment to be around that I’ve ever been around.”

Donations are still being accepted via the marathon’s website until the end of 2023. More information is available at t1d4x4x48.com