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Jono le Roux Embraces Advanced Technology to Conquer the 2024 Comrades Marathon

South African ultra-runner Jono le Roux is gearing up to tackle the 2024 Comrades Marathon, armed with a powerful tool to manage his Type 1 diabetes: the FreeStyle Libre 2 Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System. This innovative technology will play a pivotal role in helping Jono keep his glucose levels in check during the gruelling race, marking a significant step in his running career.

Jono’s journey to the Comrades Marathon has not been without challenges. Earlier this year, he faced a setback at the Drakensberg Ultra Marathon, where an injury forced him to withdraw at the 60km mark. Reflecting on this experience, Jono shared, “After my withdrawal at Ultra Trail Drakensberg, I was quite disappointed. When you put so much into one goal and don’t even come close to achieving it, there is a lot of negativity going through your thoughts. For me, on a race like this, I often feel like I’m running for more than just myself and my own goals, so there was a big feeling of having let people down.”

Despite the disappointment, Jono found solace and motivation in supporting his friends who were also racing. “Luckily, I woke up early on Saturday morning, got out onto the course, and supported my friends. To see them achieve their goals was special and helped me deal with my own thoughts,” he said. The injury that forced his withdrawal appears to be non-recurring, allowing him to return to training and prepare for his first Comrades Marathon.

Jono’s approach to ultra-running is uniquely influenced by his Type 1 diabetes. “Whenever I’m attempting an ultra-race for the first time, it’s really difficult to put out a goal other than finishing because there are just so many variables that could affect my performance based on my Type 1 diabetes. I am therefore forced into a very conservative and realistic approach. However, having my continuous glucose monitor now eliminates quite a few variables, which allows me to maybe push myself a little bit harder than before but at the same time, with all the live information it is giving me, it’s also reassuring me of my sometimes conservative decisions.”

The FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM system has been a game-changer for Jono. “It really does give you a different kind of confidence having access to the live glucose readings and alarms so that you can react accordingly before you go into a hypo or hyperglycaemic state,” he explained. The support on the Comrades route, known for its enthusiastic spectators and ample aid stations, further aids in his glucose management. “The support on route also plays a major role in my glucose management as there are numerous access points for my seconding crew and water tables. Unlike in trail running, where I have to carry all of my nutrition and hydration, I will not need to do that so much in Comrades.”

As Jono prepares for the iconic 2024 Comrades Marathon, he remains optimistic and excited about the journey ahead. “Coming from an ultra-trail background where I am used to spending extended periods of time on my own in remote areas, I’m quite excited by the prospect of having support from start to finish at Comrades. It’s something that Comrades is known for and probably what I’m most looking forward to.”

Jono’s participation in the Comrades Marathon, while managing Type 1 diabetes, highlights the resilience and determination of athletes facing chronic conditions. With the aid of the FreeStyle Libre 2 CGM system, Jono is set to inspire many as he takes on this monumental challenge.

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