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From weighing over 20 stone and suffering a stroke at 36, to running a Boston Marathon qualifying time and embarking on a mission to run all six Abbott World Major Marathons – meet our latest ambassador, Craig Sharp…
I haven’t always run, I only started seven years ago. I was 36 years-old, and it’s now an incredibly important part of my life.
My health was a mess, and I had a couple of serious health scares. I had a stroke in 2014 and I had a heart attack in 2016. It was a wakeup call. The fact that I had a stroke in front of my two young daughters was scary and I thought, that at 36 years-old, there must be something seriously wrong with what I’m doing with my life. I was overweight, unfit and I need to change things!
I was sat at home watching a marathon on TV. My entire life centred around my weight and I just couldn’t connect with what I was watching. Seeing strangers cheer on strangers was just weird. I didn’t realise anything like it existed. I had just had a stroke and it seemed like a sign that I needed to start running.
I was 36 years old, and I weighed over 20 stone. I told my doctor that I wanted to run the London Marathon. He told me that I’ll never do that in my life. To be honest, it was what I needed to hear – I just thought, I’ll show you I can!
I planned a two-mile route for my first run and it took me 40 minutes – you can actually walk faster than that! I was running and then having to stand still to catch my breath. It took ages!
The doctor had told me not to run because I was too fat and it would put too much strain on my heart… and he was right! I suffered a heart attack and second stroke but I was determined to see this through.
I began monitoring my weight more than anything. Straight away I cut out all junk food, beer, pizzas and chocolate biscuits, and I lost a stone in the first week.
After eight months, I had lost eight stone and in 2015 I ran the London Marathon. It nearly ruined me and I couldn’t walk properly after. But that’s when I thought to myself, I’m going to run all six World Marathon Majors.
Every now and then I ask myself why am I doing this? To be honest, that’s what I think on every single run! But I just can’t imagine not running now. One of my daughters and my partner run, so does my entire friendship circle. I just can’t imagine my life any other way.
My motivation is definitely health related. I’m only 47 and I’m the oldest man in my family – all of my older relatives died young, and none were healthy. I’m determined to put an end to that trend.
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