How one man lost over 7 stone to become a marathon runner

Then...

When I was nine, in 1995, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour. 
It was successfully operated on,
 but the part of my brain that controls my appetite was damaged. I enjoyed running when I was younger, but I began putting on weight after my surgery. This was partly due to the medication I was on (and still take today) and not quite knowing when I’m full.

During my teens and 20s, I became lazy. It didn’t help that my banking job meant I spent long days at my desk. I was terrible at snacking, especially chocolate and crisps from the vending machine. Lunch would often be a pie and mash, followed by a big portion of my mum’s home cooking in the evening.

My weight just went up, finally reaching 30st. My GP warned me my health was suffering and I could develop type 2 diabetes or heart problems, but I kept overeating.

The turnaround

One Sunday morning in August 2014, I decided to do a walk as quickly as I could. Somehow, it motivated me to become more active. Soon afterwards I decided to step up to a jog/shuffle. In February 2015 I joined my local sports shop’s breakfast running club. That first time I went along, I could only run 50m of a 5K run; I was red-faced and breathless. But I stuck with it and introduced a midweek run, too.

After doing a 5K charity fun run I ran the British 10K in July 2015. 
I was still about 29st, so I was delighted to finish in 1:45. I joined Wimbledon Windmilers RC and the Backpackers running groups and I now run four times a week.

My first half marathon was the Royal Parks in 2016. I did the Berlin Marathon this autumn in 7:06, only just beating the sweeper van! Since taking up running, my waist has shrunk from 58" to 44" and my chest from 60" to 50". My aim was to fit into some of the finishers’ T-shirts from the 40 races I’ve now run.

The future

Running has totally changed my appearance and interests. The junk food and empty calorie drinks have gone; now I snack on fruit, nuts and granola bars. I’ve also joined a fitness class. My self-confidence is so much higher and I’m making new friends all the time, thanks 
to running. I want to run further and hopefully faster, too.

I would love to run the London Marathon like my dad, Roy, did several times. He’s very proud of me and I want to run with him whenever I can. I enjoy travelling abroad to run, and would eventually love to do all six of the Marathon Majors,
 as well as the marathon in Singapore, which is one of my favourite cities. I really enjoy the relaxed and friendly atmosphere at trail races, so would like to do more of those. I may never win a race, but the real achievement for me is the finishing line and not the finish time.

THE MAKEOVER

Start off by setting modest goals; even a one-mile run is better than nothing.

Don’t overhaul your diet in one go. I swapped fizzy pop for flavoured water before drinking ordinary water.

As you get confident, sign up to a race and stick to a training plan. That will keep you motivated on dark, wet mornings.

Make running your social time, too, so you can forget you’re trying to lose weight as you chat to fellow runners.