Cliff Scherb | Triathlete and Inspiration

Cliff Scherb - Ironman Arizona - 2008 Photo by Ryan Scherb of Ryan Scherb Photography

This won’t be the first time I say that meeting, talking with and learning the stories of adults living with diabetes provide me great support, hope and inspiration.  The thing – the only thing – that gave me comfort when Caleb was first diagnosed was hearing about anyone leading a normal life with diabetes.  We had just entered a world we knew nothing about and had great uncertainty.  Knowing about anyone managing this disease while achieving their uncompromised goals is what got me through those early days.

Since then I’ve encountered more people than I can count who have continued to inspire me.  Among them are athletes.  Athletes touch me in a special way.  It has everything to do with the difficulty I personally have with keeping Caleb’s blood sugar in range when he swims, plays baseball or just generally runs around outside like the free spirit he is.

The commitment, dedication, planning, determination and tenacity it takes to be an athlete with diabetes is something I cannot completely wrap my brain around.  The enormity of that compared to Caleb going for a swim is too much for me to fully appreciate.

I am in awe of what these athletes accomplish.

I root for my friends Bradford and Gary. I look forward to hearing about their race successes and soak up their blog posts like a sponge. Other heroes: Phil Southerland, Kris Freeman, Jay Cutler, Brandon Morrow and now Cliff Scherb.

Cliff is currently in Hawaii preparing to compete in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona – the Ironman of Ironmans.  Cliff holds the Ironman title of second fastest type 1 diabetic with his success in Florida, but hopes to beat the world record for a type 1 diabetic in Kona of 9 hours and 50 minutes.

If you don’t know what an Ironman entails, read this excerpt from the Ford Ironman World Champion site:

How long are the distances in the Ford Ironman World Championship and what are the cutoff times?
The swim is 2.4 miles and the cutoff is 2 hrs. and 20 min., the bike is 112 miles and the cutoff time is 10 hrs and 30 min from the beginning of the race and the run is a full marathon which is 26.2 miles and the cutoff time is 17 hours from the beginning of the race.

I find managing type 1 diabetes through 30 minutes of uncompetetive swimming a complete struggle.  Cliff is undertaking more than 9 hours of swimming, running and biking. Saying it’s remarkable doesn’t seem to give it proper justice; it’s so much more than that.

I first heard about Cliff about a year ago when this local news report aired:

Yep, he’s an OmniPodder. Not that he has to be to get my respect, but since Caleb also uses the OmniPod, it makes Cliff just a little more relatable.  I remember being excited for Cliff then and thinking this report was well done.  Both Cliff and Max Gomez did a nice job explaining type 1 diabetes and how difficult managing it and being a triathlete is. Bravo gentlemen!

I’ve read more about Cliff here.  If you read nothing else of this article, scroll down to the final question and his response. Cliff has an amazing attitude.

So on October 9th we’ll be excited and watching to see if Cliff meets his goal.  You can watch the live stream too – right here.

Cliff is yet another inspiration to help make our own personal journey with type 1 diabetes a little easier.

Thank you Cliff and best of luck!

9 Replies to “Cliff Scherb | Triathlete and Inspiration”

  1. I totally relate! I too took comfort in finding other type 1 diabetic adults living well. And am also in awe of diabetic athletes. They are brave, amazing people and they have my complete respect and admiration. Great post Lorraine!

  2. WOW…just read the other post as well. Thanks for sharing Lorraine. I remember being in the hospital with Joe at diagnosis. A pregnant (20 something, maybe early 30s) nurse came in to care for Joe. She revealed to us that she, too, had type 1. Somehow, just knowing that here she was working as a nurse and pregnant gave me such a peace of mind…to know…that it will be ok. To see these inspirational stories feeds my hopes and dreams for Joe…which are of course to support Joe in whatever endeavors he partakes in over the years.

  3. Thanks for posting this Lorraine. Even after 8 years of dealing with D, stories and people like these still keep giving me much needed hope. As an amateur competitive cyclist, I know a bit about what it takes to complete an ultra-endurance event such as an ironman. To do it while managing Type 1 D, it simply blows me away ! Stories like these impress me much more than the story of the athlete who won the race. Seriously amazing !

    In Canada, heros that we’ve had the chance to meet and be inspired by include olympic rower Chris Jarvis (Adele has a MAJOR crush on Chris!), ironman and Mount Everest climber Sebastien Sassville, cyclist Jonny White and the rest of the amazing T1s involved in the Connected in Motion mouvement (

    Again, thanks for posting Lorraine and a HUGE thanks to all of these T1 heros who continue to inspire…. What you are accomplishing really, really does matter !


  4. okay…yes…INCREDIBLE!!! i know what fear shoots through my nerves just when C will be playing an hour-long soccer game! wow…so inspiring…and so wonderful to hear stories like Cliff’s!
    too bad we can’t all meet in Kona to literally cheer him on… : )

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this! I sent the link to my dear friend who runs marathons and is thinking of coming to Ohio to participate in a triathlon benefiting JDRF next year, in support of my daughter. Fantastic! 🙂

  6. So sweet of you to mention Gary among the great names in your post! Watching him compete gets always gets me choaked up, as it isn’t the way we thought things would be the day we received the diagnosis. We’ve strangely come to find diabetes to be a blessing in many ways, pushing us to better overall health, and meeting some wonderful people along the way. Caleb will be a great spokesperson for diabetes when he becomes a Yankee 🙂

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