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Running Changed my Mental and Physical Health by Kyle

Back in October 2019, I was 24 stone. I was best man at my friend’s wedding, and I was a nervous mess not because I was giving a speech or anything but because I was embarrassed by my weight, and I knew that at one point in the weeding all eyes would be on me (the dreaded best man speech). 

As I write this, I realise that to some it may sound vain or self-centred, but it wasn’t that, it was a deep unhappiness with myself as a person and embarrassment of my weight. People have asked how did you get to 24 stone? I answer I don’t really know, now I think I got stuck in a destructive pattern of comfort eating resulting from depression. 

Anyway, a week or so later the wedding pictures and a video of my speech was brought out and I literally couldn’t look at myself and I mean literally, I didn’t want the picture to exist, and I can only put it down to me being unhappy with myself and embarrassed about my weight. I hated the way I looked. I remember at this point it was like a switch went off in my head, I admitted to myself that I need to change and that I need to take control of my physical and mental health so that I never again feel the way I did when the wedding photos came out. 

So, at the end of October 2019, I began my running journey, I started slow and short. At the beginning I was still embarrassed with the way I looked so I would only run in the dark wearing black so no one would see me.  Can you imagine a 6ft 4in, 24 stone man, in the dark, dressed in black, slowly running down the Hayling Billy Line grunting like an injured bear? I must have given a few people a fright. HAHAHAHA.

I quickly began to get better and drop some pounds, as my confidence with running started to go up, I got this idea that I am going to do an Ultra marathon this idea got bigger and bigger, and I began to read book about Ultra marathon runners like David Goggins. 

When I told a few people what I was going to do, they said good on you but I could see they thought I was crazy. So, I just kept running and running and running, then the first covid lockdown hit. At this point I had lost a couple of stone and I added intermittent fasting to my running schedule. 

Throughout the lockdown I stepped up my training, lost more weight and in December 2020 I decided I was going to run 30km. I managed to run the 30km but it near on killed me and at that point, lying in a pool of sweat and lactic acid, I decided I needed help and a running structure. 

On the 11th Jan 2021, an experienced coach agreed to train me for an Ultra Marathon, Dave Butters gave me a structure and set out all of my sessions, I started doing hill reps, speed work and threshold sessions. By the 16th May 2021, I had lost just over 8 stone and I ran my first marathon in training.

Fast forward a month and I was running my first 50km Ultra marathon ‘Run to the sea Brighton’ which went some of the way over the south downs. Completing my first Ultra was somehow extremely painful and enjoyable at the same time. Crossing the line at the end of the race I felt incredibly happy, and it didn’t feel like the end of my journey, it felt like the beginning. 

Since my first Ultra, I have run another one which I came 4th in and have been training for the Clarendon Marathon, The Great South Run, both in October and the Portsmouth 50km in December.

I have now lost over 9 stone through running and fasting, sorting out my physical health has had a massive impact on my mental health. I no longer run in the dark, I am no longer embarrassed by the way I look, my confidence has increased significantly, and I am no longer unhappy. I do have echo’s of how I once felt, and I don’t think they will ever go but I try to use these echo’s as motivation to stop me going backwards. Also, I keep buying clothes that are too big for me. 

Running has truly changed my life and opened some new doors for me, I have begun to lean to be a coach and help people like Dave Butters helped me. 

If I could give advice to anyone going through what I went through is,

  1. If I can do it, anyone can do it.
  2. Seek help and support at the beginning of your journey, whether it’s a running coach or someone to talk to about your menta health. This is something I wish I did at the beginning of mine.  

If you read this and want to ask me any questions or want some advice, ask me on Instagram @killingitwithkyle.

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We want to say a big Thank You to Kyle for sharing his incredible story!

If you'd like to share your story, then get in touch with us at info@runr.co.uk.

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