I started running and using Runkeeper December 14, 2012, I went from Couch Potato to Ultra Marathon Trail Runner in just one year and I lost a combined 70lbs. On February 8th I completed my first ever 50-mile Ultra Marathon Trail Race.
Back in 2010, after having some tests ran during a checkup with a family doctor, the results came back and I was diagnosed with a condition and was told if untreated it could potentially lead to other health issues. I was prescribed a medication that required me to have my blood tested every six months. Sadly it wasn’t until the summer of 2012 on a family vacation in Yellowstone National Park that I realized how unhealthy I truly was.
During our vacation, my two sons, my nephew, and I decided to hike up Mt. Washburn which is 10,243 ft—even though at the time I was almost 280 lbs. We made it to the top but I was in terrible condition. I could barely breathe and my body was completely exhausted. It was then on that mountain that I knew I needed help. After getting back home from vacation and a visit to my doctor a couple of months later, I was told that if I didn’t start changing my lifestyle my condition would only get worse. This was my “wake up call.” I finally decided to stop and take a hard look at my life and my health. Because of my role as a husband and a father I knew I needed to lead by example, which included living a healthy active lifestyle.
After searching the internet for inspiration, I came across stories of trail runners and ultra-marathons. I immediately knew this is what I wanted to train for. Without ever running a half marathon I signed up for a 50k and a 50-mile trail ultra—I knew I need extreme changes so I was determined to do something extreme. After just starting out walking by December 2012 I was able to add trail running to my weekly workouts at a local park. It was there on those trails that my mind and body began to change into the person that I had always wanted to be….
On October 23, 2013, I returned to my doctor for a checkup, and after having some test run, I was given a complete “clean bill” of health. I had lost 70lbs and was taken off all medication.
Seeing the changes I was able to experience and the results of my new love for trail running, I wanted to find a way to motivate and help others, so my family and I decided we wanted to use my running and future extreme challenges as a way to raise money for a great cause. We contacted our friends at Matthew 25 International and shared our story and desire to partner with them. Their staff went to work immediately and came up with “Miles for Missions” as a way for us and others to raise money through trail running events, with sponsorships and donations. Within the first two weeks, we were able to raise $500 and received a commitment for additional monthly donations based on how many miles I’m able to complete through my training runs and future races.
With this new motivation to raise money for charities, I have been able to complete 1000 miles of running in just 11 months and I have been able to do other things that I would have never imagined possible.
I was thrilled to be able to complete my 50-mile ultra-marathon, placing 136 overall with a time of 10:47:59!
Featured photo credit: Sebastian Werner