50 Years of Helping Athletes with Diabetes: A Conversation with Dr. Edward Horton

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Kellyn Mahan and Caitlin Enright from the Joslin Philanthropy Office with Greg Weintraub along the route of the Boston Marathon

Greg Weintraub
Captain, Team Joslin at the Boston Marathon

This article was first published Jan. 31, 2017. 

We were 7 miles into a long run on the Boston Marathon course as part of my training plan. We had just passed Newton-Wellesley Hospital when we approached the infamous firehouse – signifying 3 miles of daunting hills ahead of us.

Occasionally, the fire fighters set up a water table for runners. On this day, though, several fire fighters stood outside of the firehouse, talking and joking as they asked how much further we had to run that day. My running partner, who I met during the beginning of this long run with the Heartbreak Hill Running Company, and I just kept running. We were providing critical motivation to each other, despite having known each other for only 10 miles and just over an hour.

Several miles later, I approached the base of Heartbreak Hill. I let out a sigh, bemoaning the upcoming hill and acknowledging the work we had ahead of us. My running partner looked at me, and said “It’s tough, huh?” She understood, perhaps all too well, that Heartbreak Hill was another hurdle to overcome in our 13+ mile run on that Saturday morning.

I thought back to those fire fighters, who asked how far we were running that day. And I thought about the miles we still had to run after completing Heartbreak Hill. I looked at my running partner, and said “Running long distances is tough. And running a long distance for the first time is even more difficult. It’s uncharted territory. It’s emotional.” And with that, we both nodded – and ran even faster up Heartbreak Hill.

Making Connections

I recently met Dr. Edward Horton, a leading exercise physiologist at Joslin. Dr. Horton and I spent time together on a recent Friday afternoon, where I learned about his 50-year long career pursuing cutting-edge research at the intersection of exercise and diabetes management. I also learned about Dr. Horton’s leadership in leveraging his platform, as a leading clinician and researcher, to advocate for athletes with diabetes. Suffice it to say, Dr. Horton and I had a lot to talk about – and I found myself sitting on the edge of my seat as Dr. Horton recounted his history of supporting athletes with diabetes.

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