Sometimes the thought of running can be intimidating, especially if you have never done it before. Just the idea that people may be looking at you and laughing because you are not as skinny as they are, is enough to make you head back to the sofa.
Jorge Bronze went from an active lifestyle during his teens, to a couch potato during his college years. Junk food and booze became a part of his daily routine, and understandably, his weight increased. He soon found that walking anywhere left him out of breath. McDonald’s became a part of his diet, as did lazing on the couch.
‘I was very active throughout my teenage years doing a lot of sport and didn’t need to worry about what I ate,’ Jorge said.
‘During University, however, my activity level dropped to zero, my eating habits turned to pure trash and I thought I could get away with it. It wasn’t until I woke up one day, hung-over with a box of McDonald’s at the side of the bed that I took a look in the mirror. I had ballooned to 18 ½ stone, was breathless anytime I walked anywhere and I hadn’t even seen it coming,’ he said.
‘So I started running. I downloaded the Nike+ App, had music on as loud as possible and ran loops around my house so that if it got too hard I could always walk home. I ran as hard as I felt I could every time and did this around three times a week. I was very pleased with myself when I managed to run a 35 minute 5k.’
Finally he realised that 18 ½ stone was not the weight he wanted to be. Coming from a family of athletic siblings, Jorge knew he needed to change. He began to run around the block where his house was. His thought was that if he got too tired, he could just walk home. He downloaded an app and played music as loud as he could, put on his running shoes, and headed out. Finally he ran 5km in 35 minutes! He knew then that there was no turning back.
Jorge actually comes from a family of sportsmen. His older sister is a professional footballer. His younger sister is an Olympic heptathlon hopeful.
But it was only when his dad – an avid club runner suggested he join a run in the park. This was the turning point in his life. No one cared who you were, and more importantly, what you looked like. Six months after that he joined a running club and entered the Great North Run. No turning back for Jorge then! He knew that this was what he was going to do with his life. He added a healthy diet routine to ensure the weight stayed off.
‘Around 200 people, all shapes and sizes, young and old were running around the local park at 9am on a Saturday morning. Mo Farah-types smashing out fast miles at the front, walkers at the back and everyone else in between. No judgement, no pressure. No problem,’ he shared.
‘Six months on I joined a local running club, drunkenly entered The Great North Run, found myself reading running articles, thinking about my training and wondering what might be next.’
Soon after that his park run time went down from 23 minutes to 19, and that was the year Jorge ran his first half marathon. The Manchester marathon came soon after, and he has begun making plans for the London marathon.
Jorge says that he knows he will always struggle with his weight, but running has become a part of his life now. He says that ‘while I may not always be thin, I will always be a runner’.