“The doctor told me to forget all extreme hobbies. That’s when I decided to start ultra running.”

Being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes hasn’t stopped Olli from having adventures. Now he’s dreaming of 100-milers in the mountains. 

“All of a sudden four years ago, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. It was a shock. I threw tantrums and tossed my phone to the wall. It felt like I couldn’t do anything fun anymore.

I’ve always been athletic and been doing a lot of multi-day hikes. At first, I didn’t realise what was wrong with me. I was very tired and I had to pee all the time. I was also extremely thirsty and craved sugar all the time. In the end, I was in really bad shape and I was hospitalised for a week. In the hospital, they discovered I had diabetes.

The doctor said I have to forget all extreme hobbies. That’s when I decided to start running ultra distances.

Having diabetes doesn’t stop me from doing anything, but I have to pay a lot of attention to maintaining my blood sugar levels. If I get too much sugar, I feel lethargic. If the sugars are low, I can go into an insulin shock and pass out. 

I’ve been experimenting with my energy intake: what kind of energy and how much of it I can take. The combination of glucose and fructose is the most common choice because it absorbs quickly. I always have backup energy with me - as well as backup energy for my backup energy. Nosht products have worked super well for me.

It takes a lot of planning to do multi-day hikes now. During long days out, I need an insulin injection as well. Transporting that with me on long hikes is a challenge, especially during winter, as the insulin needs to be stored in proper temperature.

So far, the longest race I have run has been 83 kilometres. This summer I plan to complete my first 100 km run. I’m also planning long hikes and bikepacking trips. My dream is to run the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc hundred-miler.

If you come across a person suffering from insulin shock, stop to help. If the person is unconscious, call an ambulance and ask for further instructions. During the 2019 Karhunkierros race, I saw people stopping to help a diabetic in trouble. It made me think I could be in that position, too.”

Olli Hietajärvi

You can follow Olli’s adventures on Instagram @oolaw

Meet the Noshter:

Name: Olli Hietajärvi
Location: Lahti, Finland
Type of adventure: By foot or on a bike, with a smile on my face.
Dream: To have more adventures and own a hidden cabin with a sauna by the lake where to rest between my travels.
Motto: Kyllä se siitä. (Things will work out.)
Favourite Nosht products: Passion Fruit & Coconut Energy Chew when I run and Veggie Candy any time

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