It sounds like a headline from the National Inquirer or the Guinness Book of World Records. But it’s a true account of Jeff Le’s amazing feat. I came across Jeff’s story in this month’s issue of Runner’s World. Two years ago, Jeff weighed 290 pounds and exercise wasn’t a priority. But a serious illness triggered a new perspective on life. Jeff joined a gym and stepped on a treadmill for the first time. It wasn’t the most positive start – after five minutes he vomited.
But he returned the next day and two months later Jeff had started running 10-K races and was down 45 pounds. Jeff was hooked. He started running half-marathons as he pursued his goal to race the Marine Corps Marathon. By race day, Jeff had lost 130 pounds – within less than a year. He finished his first marathon in 3:42. A year later, he qualified for the Boston Marathon with a finish time of 3:10 at the California International Marathon.
While Jeff started running to improve his fitness, he became addicted to the feeling of freedom he experienced. Like Jeff, I run to stay fit but at times it’s the mental benefits that make running essential. Running helps me unwind from a stressful day. And morning runs provide both a physical and mental energy boost to start my day. To borrow from the well-know milk ad, running does the body (and the mind) good.