Martin Kelly has a new body shape and a new out­look on life

Runner's World (UK) - - Human Race -


‘At the start of 2011, I ac­cepted a po­si­tion work­ing away from home for six months, with prospects for pro­mo­tion. At 4am ev­ery Mon­day, I’d leave my wife, Vicky, and daugh­ters (then seven and nine), some­times not mak­ing it back at week­ends. I was putting in 60-70hour weeks and as a re­sult of the stress, along with do­ing no ex­er­cise, eat­ing rub­bish and drink­ing too much, my weight bal­looned to 18.5 stone. Six months turned into 10, but the prom­ise of pro­mo­tion van­ished and I re­turned home feel­ing like a fail­ure as a fa­ther and a hus­band, and ashamed of the way I looked.

I started jog­ging to try to shift some weight, but I was no good and my mo­ti­va­tion waned. Then I saw an ad­vert for a 105-mile ad­ven­ture race across Scot­land (run­ning, kayak­ing and cycling). I re­marked to Vicky that I’d love to be able to do some­thing like that, and to my sur­prise she replied, “Do it then. Stop wish­ing, and get on with it.”’

The turn­around

‘As ab­surd as it sounds, I de­cided it was the way to win back some re­spect – from my­self and from Vicky. I pledged to do it for char­ity so I couldn’t back out, and be­gan train­ing. My first goal was a fivemile race and I’d al­ready lost two stone by the time I did it, just through in­creas­ing my ac­tiv­ity lev­els. But I needed to ad­dress my diet, too, and started a Her­bal­ife weight­loss pro­gramme. My next race was a half marathon. I’d put down 2:45 as my es­ti­mated time but by race day my fit­ness and weight loss had gone through the roof and I ran 2:15!

When I lined up at the start of the Coast to Coast ad­ven­ture race in Septem­ber 2012, 10 months af­ter I’d start­ing jog­ging, I was more than four stone lighter and had re­duced my waist size from 40" to 32". My youngest daugh­ter, Ge­or­gia, told me that when she wrapped her arms around me, her hands met at the back! I fin­ished in the top third. I’ve gone on to do ul­tras, duathlons and other ad­ven­ture races.’

The fu­ture

‘Peo­ple have been so sup­port­ive and the im­pact on our fam­ily has been 100 per cent pos­i­tive – Ge­or­gia now loves run­ning, too. I’ve vowed never again to sac­ri­fice my health or time with my fam­ily in pur­suit of my ca­reer. I am fit­ter and health­ier than I have ever been. I'm also more con­fi­dent and re­silient. When I con­tracted a par­a­site in Septem­ber 2014 that left me quite ill, rob­bing me of my fit­ness for months, I knew I had the men­tal strength to get back to where I had been. My ul­ti­mate goal is to do the Ul­tra Trail du Mont Blanc [166km]. By push­ing my­self be­yond my per­ceived lim­its, I hope I’ve shown oth­ers they can do the same.’


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