Sam Brand’s Team Novo Nordisk career started as a triathlete. In 2013, the Isle of Man resident qualified to race for Great Britain at the 2013 ITU World Championships, and in 2014, he finished 12th in his age group at the Nottingham Triathlon, a World Championship qualifier. In 2015, Sam decided to focus exclusively on cycling, and in 2016 he was invited to ride with the Development squad. “My athletic career is just getting started,” Sam says, “and I look forward to getting more involved with the team and making all my friends and family proud.”
Tell us about when you were diagnosed and how you found out?
I was diagnosed at the age of 10, midway through my final year at primary school. I had recently come back from holiday and fell unwell. I had the usual symptoms (although unknown to me at the time); I was drinking a lot and spending the rest of my time to and from the bathroom.
What was your initial reaction?
I was young, and I didn’t really know what was going on. I had never heard of diabetes, and there was an awful lot of information to take in.
How did your family/friends/fellow athletes react?
My family, friends and fellow athletes were great, and they never treated me any different. I was encouraged to continue the sports I loved. All of my friends and family were learning as much as I was.
Did you think your days as an athlete were over? Did others? What did your doctor say?
At the time, I was fairly young; my sports career was limited and hadn’t taken off. I played football, basketball, as well as competed in both athletics and triathlon.
Tell us about how you got started in your sport.
Throughout high school, I played all the sports I could. I loved it!
In my senior year, I raced at national level cross-country. And triathlon was a sport that I was introduced to through my father, who competed for Great Britain at age group level. I had raced a few children’s triathlons pre-diabetes diagnosis and a couple in my teenage years post-diagnosis, but it wasn’t until I reached university that I decided to take up triathlon seriously.
When did you start competing?
I started to compete seriously in 2012, during my first year of University but had always competed in other sports from a young age.
When you first started competing, did you tell anyone (teammates/coaches/trainers) about your diabetes?
I told my coach. That was all. As I got to know more people on the team, and as our friendships developed, I told them as well. I had nothing to hide and didn’t find an issue in telling anyone. It isn’t something I actively hide, I am proud of it.
What do you think is your biggest achievement in your athletic career?
For me, it’s qualifying to race for Great Britain (AG) at the 2013 ITU World Championships.
What is your favorite memory from a race/competition?
During the ITU World Championships, I was able to compete in front of family and friends. That’s a great memory.
Being part of Team Novo Nordisk
How did you come to join Team Novo Nordisk?
I was contacted via social media and asked whether I was interested in racing for TNN. From this, I came into contact with a team member who was happy to give me a few moments to answer a question or two. Eventually, I was contacted by the team and asked to complete an application form. The rest is history.
How has your life changed since you joined the team (both as an athlete and as a person)?
Since I’ve only just joined, I haven’t yet felt the full impact. But from the help and support to date, I can’t wait to become more involved.
Off the bike (Other Interests)
How do you spend your time when you’re not training or racing? Any other passions?
I love to be outside, with my camera and spending time with family and friends.
What do you want to do when you retire?
It feels so long away but I would love to be involved in sport in some form- maybe coaching to help others get their full potential out of sport.
What are the three most important things in your life?
- Family and Friends
- My Sport
- My Diabetes