Spoleto Diabetics in Sports
Spoleto Diabetics in Sports is a European sporting event of running and mountain biking where both diabetics and athletes are involved. The event is designed to raise awareness about fair sport and physical activity to promote health, well-being and social inclusion in Europe. 320 diabetics and 700 other participants from 16 European countries were involved in the event. Both Social was one of them.
There was also a special guest at the event, the Italian neo-professional Umberto Poli. He had been fanatic with cycling since he was six years old, but never expected that he would be able to compete at a professional level. When he was sixteen years old, he was unexpectedly taken to the hospital where diabetes type 1 was diagnosed. He received a lot of support from family, friends and coaches and quickly started training and racing again. In 2016 Poli got a place in the development team and in his first season he won Stage 2 and Stage 6 of the Georgia Cycling Grand Prix and he finished second in the Mt. Victory Road Race. This always as a proud member of Team Novo Nordisk and he hopes to inspire other people around the world with diabetes.
The event took place in the beautiful Italian city of Spoleto in the municipality of the same name. This is a city in the Umbria region in the middle of Italy. It is a very old city that was very important during the Roman times. This is reflected in the beautiful culture, the cathedrals, churches, theaters and monasteries. Spoleto also has a very nice aqua viaduct which unfortunately is no longer negotiable, but is definitely worth it to go. Because the city is built against a mountain you can walk here and it gives a beautiful view.
Both Social, being an Erasmus + partner, was allowed to participate in the event from the Netherlands. Together with two supervisors, head coach Menno Both, and 20 other enthusiastic participants, the group was complete. It was a very diverse group, with ages of 14 to 50 years, diabetics and non-diabetics, athletes and participants who wanted to take up the sport again. Everyone had set up personal learning goals for the project, which could be achieved individually but also with the help of others. Because the group was very diverse everyone could learn a lot from each other and achieve his / her goals in this way.
On Wednesday, August 29, early in the morning, the group left for Italy from Eindhoven, after which the event could begin. The first day was a travel day and a day to get to know each other.Thursday, August 30 was marked by an opening ceremony and a press conference, these were in Studio Communale. This was the first time that all delegations could meet each other. The city was explored and information was provided about all the activities that would take place in the following days.
On Friday, August 31, all mountain bikers got the opportunity to test bikes, explore the track and get their clothes for the ride. For the rest of the day, there were lectures about sports, how diabetics can influence this, opportunities for everyone and various labs. Also, a lot of culture could be sniffed and knowledge was made with other delegations. There was a beautiful and heavy evening walk on the program for this evening.
Saturday, September 1 it was possible for the riders to provide more information about the route and they got their clothes and start numbers. There was a city tour planned and a health conference about the role that sport has in preventing disease.
Sunday, September 2 was finally the day where everyone could show what he / she had in his nature. At 7:15 am the bus left for the Dutch delegation, and at 9:00 am the cyclists and riders would start their race. The Dutch delegation participated in three different parts. A group participated in the 14 km family tour, which had a nice view, but was heavy because of the mountain that was climbed. The 45km tour for cyclists, very debilitating and only for the experienced cyclists. Because of the mountain landscape, pieces had to be walked through, due to the steep roads. The riders also had a tough course, 11 kilometers, up and down stairs. Everyone had put down a lot of good performance here, above themselves and enjoyed beautiful views.
All in all it was a great experience. New friendships have arisen, a lot has been learned and everyone has great memories that nobody can take away from us.