Gürkan Açikgöz, around the world in 2 challenges

The trials that life holds sometimes help to reveal personalities. Outperforming and win the Roadsign Continental Challenge two years in a row, it is inspiring. In Gürkan’s case, the feat is more than athletic, it will change the life of thousands people…

[ Being diabetic or athletic, why choose? ]

When life reaches out, you got to take a chance. This is exactly what Gürkan Açıkgöz did. What makes him so inspirational and the embodiment of willing is first his performances in international races but also the fact he is doing all this being diabetic. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 20, Gurkan explains that our body needs to ingest carbohydrates to get glucosum – our fuel in a way – essential to its proper functioning. The agent in charge of disseminating glucose to our cells is called Insulin; but when you are type 1 diabetic, your body does not produce any insulin. Hard to imagine a diabetic playing a high-level sport… Although Gürkan was a casual sportsman interested in cycling or motorbike, he decided to learn how to deal with this dysfunction that could have forced him to give up his dreams. He chose to progress through running.

“ When I run for quite long period, my blood sugar was decreases rapidly. When I understood that I have to constantly check and stabilize it by ingesting carbs, I thought about running longer races and eventually marathons. ”

[ A first-class ambassador ]

Studious and motivate, race by race, Gürkan consistently pushed back the constraints imposed by diabetes. A remarkable path noticed by the Solomon Running Team Turkey, making him a great ambassador both on tracks and in conferences. This meaningful support and a strong determination led him to win the Roadsign Continental Challenge 2018: a strenuous journey of 740km through Vietnam, Norway, Bolivia and Mozambique.

“ Now, I am running with the athletes that I was once inspired by. This was something that I could only dream of. However, I owe everything to my discipline and hard work.”

Gürkan Acikgöz has to inject himself with insulin during the races. He does not talk about it as a difficulty but prefers to explain:

“ When we are doing exercises, the insulin becomes more efficient. According to experts, nothing is as efficient as sport and I experienced this positive effect during decades. Half an hour of exercise two or three days a week is more than enough. ”

Obviously, ultramarathon is a demanding field and Gürkan follows a very strict and specific work out plan, coached by a friend and heeding dietician advices. Gürkan is inspiring for sure; due to his performances but also to the role he plays by facilitating access to sport for diabetics. His aim led him to become the captain of Team1, born from a partnership with the Turkish Diabetes Society and where all runners are type 1 diabetics.

[ Twice successful challenge ]

Acting and being the first diabetic sportsman winning the Challenge in 2018, Gürkan reached a nice goal… But he had not complete all his dreams. After Asia, Europe, South America and Africa, he had to tread Australian slopes. Last March, we talked about his training for THE TRACK 2019, the last challenge he had not yet taken up.

522km to run in 10 days with backpack, a net climb of 1700 m, the diversity and harshness of Outback scenes are such an unusual physical and mental challenge. Even if managing diabetes on such a distance is difficult, Gürkan finished THE TRACK, ranking 8th overall.

“ I would have been happy with a place on the podium but my first concern was to be able to complete the race in the healthiest way possible. Thanks to the Continental Challenge, I realized one of my dreams and most of all, I had magical journeys. I had the opportunity to see natural wonders on 5 continents and made incredible friends. When you meet new people and cultures, you understand that the world is much bigger than we can imagine. ”

With his performances in 2018 and 2019 on the 5 continents, Gurkan has won the Challenge for the second year! We are proud to welcome Gurkan Açikgoz to our hall of fame and so happy that he has been able to abolish many borders thanks to the Roadsign Continental Challenge.

The Roadsign Continental Challenge is a sporting challenge organized by Canal Aventure in partnership with Roadsign since 2014. More information: www.canal-aventure.com

Crédit Photo : CanalAventure©G.Pielke

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