4 hours, 50 minutes and 13 seconds. That was how long it took me to run my first marathon back in 2008. It was the first time I’d ever ran a marathon and the first time I’d ever been 18 ½ stone (79kg). 2008 was the year it all had to change.
I’d spent the previous 2 years unhappy. I put on a brave face but inside I hated myself. I hated the weight I was carrying around with me, day in, day out. I would go shopping, see a nice pair of jeans or a nice T-shirt I wanted and then find I couldn’t fit in to it. Doing this time and time again, it gets you down. How did I deal with it? I ate more. Food was my escape but realistically, it was just making things worse.
I decided in a moment of madness that running a marathon would be the best way to get rid of the weight and unhappiness! To help me keep focussed I contacted the RNLI Lifeboats charity and decided to raise money for them at the same time. This really helped me keep going on those wet and cold runs when I thought I was wasting my time or kidding myself that I could run 26.2 miles!
I ran it and I finished it. What was even more of a surprise was that I didn’t say never again. It was quite the opposite. A week later I pulled on my running shoes again and kept on running and I haven’t stopped.
Running has changed my life in so many ways. I’ve lost around 5 stone (32kg). I met my wife while running during our lunch breaks. I’ve made great friends and get to see parts of the world I probably wouldn’t have if I hadn’t been running. I’m not talking about fancy locations. I really enjoy trail running and Scotland has so much off road running to offer, you really get to see hidden gems.
Running to me is a way of relaxing. Forgetting about the stresses of the world and it keeps me healthy. I still enjoy my food but I don’t pile on the weight when I overindulge. I just pull on my trainers and run.
During 2015 to 2016 I would also run to and from work. It was quicker than the bus. It got my daily mileage in as part of my training and it kept me healthy. I would leave the flat at 7am and be in the office for 8am. I or should I say, my colleagues were fortunate, that the office had shower facilities and a drying room. This meant that even if it was raining on the way into the office, all my kit would be dry for the run home. It was ideal.
Would I recommend anyone looking to lose weight to sign up to a marathon? No! If I knew then what I know now, I would have set my sights much lower. I would have followed a 5k running programme and eased myself into it. I was just very very lucky I didn’t do myself any serious injury!
Would I recommend anyone looking to lose weight to run? Absolutely. The first couple of months might be tough but stick with it. I promise it does get easier!
Would I recommend anyone to run commute? Without a shadow of doubt. It's good for you and it's easy! If you work too far away to run, why not mix it up. Park your car 2 miles away from the office and run to the office from there or get the bus and jump off when you are within running distance. Do the same again on your way home and you've done a 4 mile run for the day.