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Man with Diabetes Becomes First to Run from Disneyland to Disney World: 'Epic Is for Everyone'

Eric Todisco
·4-min read

Courtesy Don Muchow Don Muchow

Don Muchow is proving that no challenge is too big to overcome — especially when it involves the "happiest place on earth."

The 59-year-old marketing director from Dallas recently made history when he completed the first-ever "Mouse to Mouse" run, a 2,761-mile trek from Disneyland in California to Disney World in Florida, according to his website.

"Disney is all about keeping dreams alive for all ages," Muchow said in a statement. "My message to everyone out there is that 'Epic is for everyone.' The Disney folks say it best: 'If you can dream it, you can do it.' When the journey's a little harder, the achievement is even sweeter."

Making Muchow's accomplishment even more impressive is the fact that he completed his journey without being held back by his Type 1 diabetes, with which he was diagnosed in 1972, according to his website.

Muchow wrapped his cross-country run on April 5, after 88 days of running, according to his site. The journey was a so-called "run within a run" as part of a larger, Type 1 Diabetes Run Across America that he began in February 2020 in Newport Beach, California.

Courtesy Don Muchow Don Muchow

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"Physically, it wasn't as hard as it was psychologically," he admitted to Good Morning America. "I've run in Texas and other dry areas, so I expected blisters, fatigue and swollen ankles. After 10 days, we'd take a rest day which helped a lot."

Muchow added that the journey was "more of a strain" psychologically because of several setbacks, including the death of his father just a few weeks in and the COVID pandemic.

"It was challenging to stop twice and get my gears up and running again. Patience was the hardest part for me through this whole thing," he told the outlet.

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For the first 30 years after he was diagnosed with diabetes, Muchow was largely inactive, he told GMA. But in 2004, a newfound sense of motivation inspired him to run his first 5K.

From there, Muchaw's motivation continued on, and he became an ultra-marathoner who now has Ironmans and triathlons under his belt, according to his site.

"This was a pivotal moment for me by making this lifestyle change to not let my diabetes take over my life," he told GMA. "I never thought in my wildest dreams that we'd be getting this much attention or conversations started about diabetes."

Courtesy Don Muchow Don Muchow

During the Mouse to Mouse run, Muchow reportedly kept his Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor and Tandem t:slim insulin pump on him at all times. In addition, his wife Leslie tracked him on the Dexcom Follow app to monitor his blood glucose levels in real-time.

"She would know even before I did about what kinds of fuel I needed at every stop. When I'd arrive at the van in about three to four miles, she'd greet me, for example, with hummus or cookies, depending on the reading," he said.

Calling his history-making accomplishment "surreal," Muchaw told GMA that he's also happy he's managed to show others that it's possible to remain active even with Type 1 diabetes.

"My objective is to get the word out to start rather than not start at all," he said. "I tell people all the time that I was very close to taking the wrong turn in the fork in the road between being active or being a victim to diabetes."

Courtesy Don Muchow Don Muchow

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His advice for others with diabetes, Muchaw said, is simple: "Don't give up on yourself."

"See what others are doing and adapt it for yourself," he told GMA. "If you're out there and have diabetes, you're not alone. There are hundreds and thousands of us struggling with the same issues with being physically active. This community is strong, connected and here to figure it out together. Don't go it alone."