I was once the classic lay about, couch potato, obese guy. My weight was out of control and I was very inactive. In fact, there was no exercising whatsoever. I had high blood pressure and ate a very poor diet. Meals consisted of pies, takeaway, soft drinks and fast food. My doctor had told me I was a prime candidate for a heart attack, stroke and diabetes, but this still didn’t really motivate me. And yet I was so unhealthy and tired; I remember sitting in my armchair one day thinking about how I had always planned to get back into a healthy lifestyle but I just had no motivation.
My sister, Suzie, had invited me to do a parkrun at Lakeview parkrun. In March 2016, I reluctantly went along after listening to her talk about how much fun it is. Little did I know, she took me to one of the hardest runs in Newcastle!
I finished in 54 minutes and was coughing and gasping for air at the end. I felt I made so much of a scene that I was actually embarrassed and it turned me off parkrun. I was thinking it just wasn’t for me and so I went straight back to being inactive.
It wasn’t until December 2017, that I decided I really needed to do something about my body. I had blown out to 115kg and I was embarrassed and disappointed in myself. I decided that my New Years Resolution for 2018 was to make changes. I found a diet that I could stick to it and my weight started to drop. This gave me some encouragement and I started to think that if I was going to do this, then I might as well do it properly by being motivated and dedicated.
I decided to join a gym which was a major step for me. Suzie saw that I was being active again and that I was putting in a huge effort, so she encouraged me to try parkrun again. She mentioned a new one had started near my place in San Remo, so I decided to give it another go.
I completed my second ever parkrun in April 2018 in 51 minutes and I actually enjoyed it! I found the organisers to be very warm and they welcomed me wholeheartedly. To my surprise, I had finally found something that really motivated me to work on my health and weight.
I was now using the gym to get in shape, so I could attend parkrun more frequently. I started to make friends at parkrun and through Suzie met some inspirational people. It makes it so much better when you are able to go along and make friends with like-minded people. And it was really great to be able to do things with my sister Suzie. Friendships only motivated me to get to parkrun even more as I was finding the social connection so enjoyable too.
I had by now totally changed my diet to eating fresh, nutritious home-cooked meals. I cut out all the unhealthy foods I used to eat because I knew that if I was going to do this properly, I had to kick my bad habits completely. My motivation to get fit was high and nothing was going to stop me. I had completely changed my mindset and was seeing great benefits in my energy levels, health and wellbeing.
I got more involved at San Remo parkrun and completed several volunteer roles and I am always more than happy to help out. Knowing that this is a community event, means that feels fantastic to give something back and encourage others. Everyone at San Remo gave me so much support and the more I went, the happier I was becoming.
My weight has dropped quite quickly after changing my diet and participating at parkrun. And I have not looked back once! I have so far lost 22kg and I now have more energy and have joined in with Suzie’s run club. I have also also registered for a local fun run and I have plans do Blackmore’s, Lake Macquarie fun run and have committed to do the 14km relay at next year’s Newrun. parkrun has opened my eyes to a whole new world of healthy living, exercise and friendships.
With every step I take, I get closer and closer to my ultimate goal. I hope to do parkrun in under 30 minutes and I also hope to run a half marathon next year. Parkrun has become such an important part of my life now; it has become an essential part of my week. I now look forward to every Saturday morning. In a way, you could say that parkrun has saved my life
San Remo parkrun
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