A Pendle Leisure Trust employee has gone from fat to fit to take on one of the country’s biggest sporting events.
Two years ago, Paul Whittaker, Pendle Leisure Trust’s Business Development Manager, couldn’t fasten his own shoe laces without getting out of breath – on Sunday, he will be running the London Marathon!
The 38-year-old father-of-two was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2014 and as part of his recovery process he had to lose weight and get fitter.
Paul said: “With any thyroid problem, even if you eat healthily you put on a lot of weight, so once I had got over my cancer treatment I decided I needed to get in shape.
“The turning point came when I had to get my seven-year-old daughter to tie my shoe laces for me!
“I joined the Up and Active Couch 2 5k scheme, basically starting at the very beginning. I completed the 10 week Programme at Seedhill Athletics and Fitness Centre in Nelson, which encouraged me to carry on.
“With the help of close friend and Up and Active Exercise Consultant John Bannister, I then completed the Scarborough 10k and The Great North Run, afterwards swearing I would never do another run again – and here I am about to take on the London Marathon!
“This month it is exactly two years since I first started to get fit. Back then I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be running the London Marathon!”
Paul will be taking on the challenge with his cousin, Chris Hindle, who will also be taking part in his first London Marathon and also raising money for Pendleside Hospice.
Together they have been training for the gruelling 26 mile run with the help of John, who himself took part in the event last year, so knows exactly what training is required.
Paul added: “I will be forever grateful to the Up and Active team for giving me the sense of belief that I could achieve my original 5kms goal two years ago. The scheme is absolutely fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone.
“The 10 week programme is ideally suited to absolute beginners with a structured programme with achievable goals. I would particularly like to thank John who has supported me throughout my training from 5kms to the London Marathon – I couldn’t have done it without him!”