A COMMITTED RUNNER who was once asthmatic and struggled to run up the stairs, is training to run the Conwy half marathon this weekend.
Chester resident Gary Cooper used to weigh 17 stone and consumed burgers, chips, crisps and beer daily.
As his health began to deteriorate and mirrors were his worst enemy, he decided to scrap Chinese nights for running nights.
The 12-and-a-half-stone Graphic Designer ran more than three marathons in two years and raised around £3,000 for Cancer Research UK.
“I feel healthier and I’m happy that I’m doing something for a good cause,” Gary said.
Even a severe knee injury a few months ago didn’t hold him back.
“The pain was unbearable. I just had to leave my body to recover and once I got through it, I was more determined than ever to run faster,” he added.
The half marathon which takes place on Sunday, November 24, consists of steep hills and long roads, but this hasn’t fazed Gary.
“I have been training harder than ever, running and cycling at least five times a week. I want to win,” he said.
This is not so he can spoil his two children at Christmas, but because the winner receives a £1,000 cash price and Gary plans to give all of this to Cancer Research if he wins the race.
A spokesman for the charity said: “We’re so thankful for people like Gary who continue to support the charity. Thank you.”
Gary doesn’t plan on stopping after the Conwy run. He’s already thinking about competing in the Chester Marathon in 2014.
Chester Intelligencer reporter, Amy Poole