Fierce: Managing Diabetes During a Winter Ultramarathon

The Arrowhead 135 race is long and cold. And this ultrarunner is taking it on with added challenges.

Minnesotan Gretchen Metsa was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when she was 19. And she hasn’t always been an ultrarunner. Her journey with the sport spans from casual running to mastering 100-mile distances, all while having to manage her blood sugar.

It’s not as much about overcoming obstacles as it is about setting an example — for herself, her daughter, and anyone else who wants to run, no matter what.

The Race

In the summer of 2019, Metsa began training for the Arrowhead 135, a 135-mile winter ultramarathon on the border of Minnesota and Canada. Ranked as one of the 50 hardest endurance races in the world (not to mention one of the coldest in North America), only 44% of footracers finish.

“Fiercely Frozen” is Metsa’s journey with Arrowhead, from the first day of training to the last mile of the race. Watching the film, the words “determination” and “grit” come to mind. Did Gretchen finish the race? Watch and find out. And along the way, she set a pretty amazing example for others to aspire to.

“Fiercely Frozen” was produced by filmmaker Carrie Highman and Dream Lens Media.

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Mary is based out of GearJunkie's Denver, CO office. Her outdoor interests span from climbing to landscape photography to pack-paddleboarding. If she's not writing, you can most likely find her at the top of a fourteener, or in a local bakery.

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