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Rob Kemp meets five guys who’ve have bucked the obesity trend to lose almost 50 stone in weight in order to improve their health, rekindle family life, take on new challenges and even become ultrarunners…



Martin Kelly, 42, Edinburgh Was: 23st (146kg) Now: 12½st (79kg) Motivation: To run a charity race

“My work took me away from my wife Vicky and my two daughters for long periods and I found it affected my health, too. I’d been diagnosed with diabetes. My weight peaked at 23st because I’d been eating rubbish and not exercising.

“I took an opportunity to change my approach to work and life. I started jogging and eating better but I lacked motivation to do it consistently. Then I saw an advert for an adventure race. I said to Vicky that I’d love to be able to do something like that. And then she hit me with; ‘Just do it then. Stop wishing and get on with it.’

“I chose a charity to give me a ‘no way of backing out’ motivation and set myself a target of raising £2012 from three events; a five-mile run in the Scottish Borders, the Edinburgh Half Marathon and, finally, Scotland Coast-to-Coast (105 miles by foot, bike and kayak).

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About Men's Running

While the calendar may be full of organised races and events, not everyone’s running life is dictated by competition. Goals come in many different shapes and sizes and so does the impetus to achieve them. If this issue has a theme it’s that reasons to run go way beyond simply wanting to be involved in a sport. Take for example the five blokes who used their unwanted weight-gain as a spur to getting out and reclaiming their lives (p55). Not only did they turn their health around they also found out things about themselves they never would have without running. You can also find #runspiration from your environment, whether that be the mountainous trails of Austria (p60) or the streets outside your own front door (p34). Hitting the books (and tablets, phones and laptops) is also a good way to find running inspiration. So we’ve curated our own Men’s Running library of essential reading and watching (p42), meaning you can gen up on training tips and courageous stories, while also keeping tabs on the amazing feats being performed by the professionals. Speaking of which, with athletic titans such as Mo Farah and Scott Overall entering the twilight of their careers, we look at the next generation of UK runners (p66) who’ll be inspiring people to lace up their trainers and find themselves through running. All this plus our usual mix of races, kit, recipes and training tips.