This David Limousin Pre-2020 Barkley interview is meant to shed light on another great Barker as they set off for the wildlands of Frozen Head State Park, and to call attention to the challenges or running with Type 1 diabetes. David is running on behalf of all diabetes sufferers and in partnership with the Type 1 Running Team.
David Limousin Interview
How did you first hear of the Barkley?
I heard about the Barkley Marathons for the first time in 2016 on a fantastic YouTube video made by Fabien Duflot for Iintérieur Sport [see below, 2014 Barkley video]. From here, I have try everything to be in the race.
When did you know you’d gotten in for 2020?
I received my condolence letter on 9th November 2019 for going on the next edition of the Barkley Marathons. Fantastic and amazing emotion for me.
What did you learn from in 2018 that will help you in 2020?
I was on the 2018 edition but unfortunately, I lost my road book during the first miles because of a poor experience and organisation. I had to stop after book 4, which I couldn’t find. Today, I am much better prepared. I have the advantage as a veteran of the Barkley of knowing the race, its particularities and being able to anticipate a lot of things.
What are you most concerned about? What are you most excited about?
What concerns me most is sleeping management and deprivation. It’s almost impossible to take the time to rest because of the time barriers given the difficulties that await us. But I am also excited by this crazy challenge. I love to be alone in the dark, in the forest and to push my limits.
What do you think was most important in Laz’s selection of you for the Barkley?
I think my selections for the Barkley are due to my way of embarking on my adventures with my pathology. I am Type 1 diabetic and I manage an association specialized in supporting diabetic runners for diabetes management. I would like to share the world that everything is possible with a disease.
What type of training have you been focused on in the final weeks?
During final weeks, I focused on big training blocs from 8 to 12h to confirm my preparation, my equipment and my diabetes management. About 120km / 4500D+ a week.
As someone with diabetes, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned that you’ll be applying at the Barkleys?
As a diabetic person, I must above all have an excellent glycemic and food management. Poor management can destroy all my chances of giving the best of myself on other aspects of the race. Hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia can be fatal and can lead to loss of power and lucidity. To avoid these worries, I need to check my blood sugar regularly with my sensor and eat accordingly. Some may see this as a real brake, but for me it is a strength. I am lucky to have figures [data], to know the impact of sport and food on my blood sugar level and therefore to know my body in depth. This allows me to anticipate compared to “lambda” runners for whom hypoglycemia is often fatal.
Is there something you’d like to say about diabetes and ultra running for others with the same condition?
I just want to say that you can do it. Don’t be afraid about an eventual hypoglycemia. You have to try. Step by step and find the way to succeed your project. At the start 10 years ago, it seemed unthinkable to me to run more than 3km. As the training progressed, I got to know myself and I think that the key is deep down. Try to train, eat, measure you blood sugar lever, make a mistake, start again and learn.
What else would you like to say about competing with diabetes?
To each his Everest! I’m not saying you have to do ultra trail. I’m just saying it’s possible by doing the Barkley. The ideal is to measure yourself regularly, to have a blood sugar level a little above the high limit (1.50 / 1.70g / l) at the start of the race, to reduce your insulin doses and to eat regularly. It is also advisable to speak to your doctor.
I don’t think anyone from France has ever completed the Barkleys. Do you think this might be the first year for a runner from France?
I think yes ! But who !? :p
I understand your girlfriend is supporting you (again) for the Barkleys. Do you think it would be possible for someone with diabetes to compete if they weren’t supported by someone with such personal awareness of your needs?
Coline knows me better than anyone and supports me on a daily basis. Diabetes takes a huge place in our relationship because it is 24-hour gymnastics. She alone knows me well, knows how to recognize hypoglycemia and knows how to react. It’s an important part in the success of my race. But I know also that Type 1 Diabetic people are heroes and can raised mountains. It’s a fantastic community of amazing persons.
Navigation has been a challenge for Barkers. What have you done to prepare?
In 2018, I didn’t have any orientation concerns. I think I have good skills from this point of view. But I worked orienteering on official courses several times, on terrains that I did not know. a real plus compared to 2018.
Rat Jaw and briers have really torn up other runners. Any special plans to deal with the cuts and burs?
I think I will jump over Briers. That’s my plan ^^ ! No… just kidding. I will protect my legs with long pants.
In the past, weather has played a big role in who finishes. How have you prepared for the extreme heat and cold you might experience?
I trained in all types of weather. The cold, the snow, the rain, the hail. This is not what will stop me. I tried and tested in training a lot of equipment of different brands, several textiles, fabrics to compensate for the vagaries of the climate in Frozen Head.
What shoes and pack do you plan to use and wear? Are these specific to the Barkleys, or what you use for all of your ultras?
The equipment that I take to the Barkley is equipment that I am used to using. Only my card holder designed specifically by my mom in law and my compass are in addition. For the Barkley I will use:
- La Sportiva Akasha mountain running shoes
- Two pairs offered by La Sportiva and Terre de Running Antony Shop
- Salomon Skin pro 15L backpack
- Body Cross T-Shirt and windbreaker
- Offered by Body Cross, a French technical brand
- Armytek Wizard Pro V4 headlamp
- Black Diamond 3-brands sticks
- Raidlight WinterTrail pant and gloves
- FreeStyle Libre diabete sensor
- Omnipod insulin pump
- Food and drink (2.5L)
What’s the best / worst advice past Barkers have given you, if any?
Barkers don’t share lot of information between us. Only a few French Barkers share crucial information with me about the race, maps, road book and book places but I can’t tell you about it here ;).
Among the men and women, who do you think is mostly likely to finish?
I think this year will be an amazing Barkley year with multiple finishers. I think about Gary Robbins, Guillaume Calmettes (maybe the first French to finish) and an other surprise.
What are your personal goals for the Barkley? Loop? Fun Run? Finish? CR?
One of my favorite quotes is from Will Smith, “Why do we fail?
“You got a dream you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves they tell you, you can’t do it. If you want something, go get it, period.”
I prefer to don’t talk about my goal :). It’s mysterious, as the race…
Thank you for the interview, and good luck, David! We look forward to hearing how the 2020 Barkley goes for you, and more about progress on diabetes and ultra running.
More about David Limousin
Some additional information about David and coverage related to diabetes, including his interview with partner Run Run Productions (in French):
David also introduced himself in English to the Facebook ultra-running world on TAUR:
My goal is to share information about diabetes around the world:
– We are not Type 1 diabetic because we ate too much sugar
– We can eat everything, no one should tell us what we should or should not eat
– Type 1 diabetic have to make sport
– Hypoglycemia should not be scary!
Everything is possible. If you have a dream, you have to protect him.
Good luck Out There, David!
More about the Barkleys
Just in case David’s interview wet your appetite for more:
- 2020 Isobel Ross Interview
- 2020 Barkley Runners
- Barkley Finish Stats
- People of the Barkley (Barkers)
- Terms & Quick Reference
- Top 10 Barkley Documentaries