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Sunday September 17, 12:30 am Eastern Time

Press Release

SOURCE: Eli Lilly and Company

Diabetes Patient Embarks on 4-Month 'Ultra-Marathon'

Dutch patient to journey through Europe to raise awareness about illness

INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- A Dutch patient with diabetes hopes to raise awareness about his illness, appropriate treatment and the importance of exercise as he runs more than 6,000 kilometers through nine countries during the next four months.

To demonstrate that an appropriate treatment regimen -- including diet, exercise and medication -- can lead to normal lifestyles for diabetes patients, 47-year-old Martin Mes today began an ``ultra-marathon'' that could become the longest known run by any patient with diabetes. Martin left today from Jerusalem -- site of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) congress -- on a journey that will take him through eight more countries before returning home by the end of the year.

Martin vividly recalls the day that he was first diagnosed with diabetes six years ago. ``I was simply devastated,'' he said. ``At first I was very frightened and concerned about the long-term consequences of my illness. But I soon realized that I couldn't let diabetes interfere with my full and active life.''

During the last three years, Martin has trained for and participated in 12 marathons, completing each in less than 3 hours.

Martin will begin his run following the Eli Lilly and Company symposium on diabetes care at the EASD conference. His journey will take him through Israel, Syria, Turkey, Greece, Italy, Monaco, France and Belgium before arriving home in The Netherlands.

The grueling nature of the run is demonstrated by Martin's schedule. With a 5 a.m. start six days a week and approximately 60 kilometers each day, he is scheduled to run the 6,000 kilometers in less than four months. Additionally, he must run through desert conditions during the first 800 kilometers of his 'ultra-run' after leaving Jerusalem, facing extreme temperatures and humidity changes.

Throughout the run, Martin will drink continuously to avoid dehydration, eat regularly to maintain elevated carbohydrate levels and also frequently test his blood sugar levels. He will be followed by a support team that will monitor his progress.

According to the International Association of Ultra Runners, rules allow runners to 'go as you please,' meaning they may take walking breaks, pause to eat and even sleep without penalty. In this case, Martin also needs to stop to inject his insulin. Consequently, he will be followed by a support team in a specially equipped transportation vehicle, sponsored by the Dutch Affiliate of Eli Lilly and Company. In addition to a large supply of refrigerated insulin, his vehicle will also carry essential high carbohydrate food and glucose and mineral supplement drinks.

Martin uses a rapid acting insulin analogue (insulin lispro) to control his diabetes. During his journey Martin will be in a constant flux between high and low blood sugar levels. ``Without the insulin I currently use, I would never have imagined being able to do this. I want to show that with the right medication and a positive outlook, a person with diabetes can do just about anything.''

Says the runner's physician, Professor R.J. Heine, from University Hospital Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, The Netherlands: ``Martin's achievements so far should give hope to all people with diabetes. He has proven that with proper treatment, training and preparation, it is possible for a person with diabetes to lead a very physically active life. Martin has learned to understand his body and can adjust his insulin injections accordingly. He has also trained immensely hard for this run and deserves to do well.''

Martin is also running to raise money for a charitable foundation he established called 'Holdiarun'. It is hoped that the project will help to raise some of the target (U.S. $1 million) needed to construct the first semi- residential sports institute in The Netherlands for people with diabetes.

Lilly, a leading innovation-driven corporation, is developing a growing portfolio of best-in-class pharmaceutical products by applying the latest research from its own worldwide laboratories and from collaborations with eminent scientific organizations. Headquartered in Indianapolis, Ind., Lilly provides answers -- through medicines and information -- for some of the world's most urgent medical needs.

SOURCE: Eli Lilly and Company

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