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NNSL Photo

Jo Russell, left, and Trish Fitzpatrick said taking part in the Great Bermuda Walking Marathon, as part of NWT's Team Diabetes, was a memorable experience. - photo courtesy Jo Russell

Team Diabetes proud of finish

Colleen Moore
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 19/03) - Their Bermuda tans may fade but the memories never will.

Jo Russell, coordinator of the regional health promotion program, and Trish Fitzpatrick, coordinator of the regional nutrition program in Yellowknife, recently returned from the Great Bermuda Walking Marathon, proud of their accomplishments.

As part of the NWT's Team Diabetes, Russell and Fitzpatrick spent many months fundraising and training in order to be granted the opportunity, but both women said the trip was well worth it.

Before they could go, they had to raise $5,500 dollars each. Thirty per cent of that covered the cost of their trip while the remaining money was donated to the Canadian Diabetes Association.

"We just thought it would be a great idea," said Fitzpatrick, adding that her mother, who has Type 2 diabetes, was her inspiration.

Russell said it was a great way to create awareness about the disease and that working with diabetics and seeing the challenges they face is motivation enough.

"Because of the work I do, I come into contact with a lot of people with diabetes," she said. "When I see them making an attempt to change their lifestyle, that is as much of a challenge as it was for us to do the fundraising," she said.

The 42-kilometre course covered the island of Bermuda. Fitzpatrick said they were lucky the weather cooperated with them on race day.

"We had a great day because it was overcast," she said. "We never got too hot."

In the end, Russell finished the marathon with a time of six hours and 22 minutes and placed 22nd out of the approximately 175 participants.

Fitzpatrick wasn't far behind, finishing her race at six hours and 35 minutes, for 26th overall.

Three women from Inuvik were also part of the team. Deborah McLeod, Yvonne Carpenter and Sue Clarkson, along with Russell and Fitzpatrick, raised a grand total of $32,000 for diabetes research, education and awareness.