Mo and Me

Mo and Me

I’m 58 years old, I’m obese, I have a long term health condition and this morning I’m feeling brilliant!

A mote in the Big Data cloud of healthcare, I’m part of that NHS nightmare, the demographic tsunami of people due to appear at A&E with strokes, heart attacks, diabetic hypoglycaemia, kidney failure, liver damage and dementia.

Except that I’m not, because this morning Mo Farah and I went out running. I ran for five thousand metres and so did he. We didn’t do this side by side. I shambled from my front gate, padded along a nearby stream and into the city centre and staggered home. Mo’s 5k would have been just part of his usual 17 mile a day schedule - probably in Kenya or the Pyrenees for the altitude. If we’d set out together, I would have been back home in 33 minutes. He would have made it in under 15 – leaving him time to make us both a pot of decent coffee and tuck into his Frosties before I stumbled in the front door.

But I’m not disheartened by the comparison, because this morning, for the first time, I ran my 5K without stopping. This makes me the latest graduate from the greatest innovation in the NHS – the “Couch to 5k” programme. This free routine does exactly what it says on the tin. It takes fat people like me – whether wheezy geezers on their sofas or roly-poly teenagers behind computers - and drags them out into the fresh air. In nine weeks we go from being utterly moribund to running 5 kilometers. It took me 17 weeks because I’m old, idle and had a few weeks off whilst my ligaments gave up briefly. But I made it!

I’m still defined as “obese” but heading for my next goal – to be “overweight”. For those of you who like Big Data, I weigh 15 stone 2.8 pounds and have a BMI of 31. The charitable might see me as well-covered or a bit stout. I’m still a danger to the public purse, but I’m down from a rather more portly 17 stone 4 pounds, at which point I was categorised as “severely obese”. My blood pressure is now that of a spring chicken and I don’t fall asleep in the daytime.

Mo is shorter than me, but he weighs only 9 stone 2, which gives him a BMI of 21.3. This is bang in the middle of the “normal” range of BMIs rather than, as one might have thought by comparing him with the average man in the street, a bit on the lean side. Mo’s physique is, apparently, the gold standard “normal” we should all be aiming for. I doubt I’ll ever get there. “Overweight” seems like a reasonable ambition for me with its “everyday people’s” BMIs ranging from 25 to 30.

Mo and me? Well, I think one of us is normal and one is a super-star, but I’ll be back out tomorrow morning.

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37 Replies

  • Marvellous ! Fantastic ! Amazing ! It's you that are the super-star right ?

  • Great post Paul, Well done you Superstar ! :-) xxx

  • That's the great thing about C25K - it makes us all feel like stars

  • Yep, it does that, and long may it continue ! :-) xxx

  • This made me smile all over my face! Well done you and what a brilliant post.

    We don't have to be that statistic if we don't want to be. Congratulations on taking control.

  • Fantastic achievement and what a great post. I've 'Recommended' it and I hope that everyone who reads it will do the same.

    Paul, guys like you should be making the 6pm news with NHS good news stories like that. I love the comparison with Mo and it is amazing that his BMI is 'normal'. I have a long way to go (7kg) before I have a normal BMI.

    Stick at your running. Find some new goal.. Park Runs, B210k, HM and let us know how you get on.

  • Very kind. Thanks and have a nice day

  • Yeehah Mr McGhee! I too was obese, with a BMI of 31.3

    Not any though! I am now 21.4 having lost four stones

    It just shows how we can turn our lives around.

    Well done Paul and keeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep running!

  • Wow missW- I knew you had done well but I hadn't realised how well! Good on yer! Is that mainly due to running? x

  • Ma'am, I am duly re-inspired by your example! Thanks

  • I posted here a minute ago but it seems to have vanished- so apologies if it appears twice, but well done Paul, a fantastic post and an inspiration to others. Enjoy your running :-D x

  • Hey Paul, don't forget to request your graduate badge , and wear it with pride , you deserve it ! :-) xxx

  • Absolutely fantastic Paul. You should be so very proud of yourself. This programme is amazing but YOU still had to have the guts, the drive and the determination to get your running shoes on and go out there and do it! Don't forget to claim your Graduate badge because you've absolutely earned it! :)

  • Congratulations Paul and respect for taking control of your health and sticking with it! Your time for 5k is none too shabby either!

    Enjoy your running!

  • Thank you for your fantastic inspirational post. You are a star in my eyes.

  • Great post

  • What a wonderful post, well done and congratulations on graduating.

  • Lovely post, Paul - very readable. Keep on with the running - and I hope your ligaments can take it!

  • Thanks for all the lovely replies. I went out and bought a pair of proper running shorts on the strength of them. Still XL but from a shop frequented by those of a more sportif persuasion :-)

  • Brilliant post and well done on your first non stop 5km. I'm still working on that one. Your post highlights the amazing things we can all achieve just from starting down the path of the c25k. Thanks for posting and happy running.

  • What a lovely, heart-warming story. Couch 2 5K does indeed have to be one of the greatest innovations of the NHS. I just wish Laura would get on and prepare the 5 2 10K podcasts!

  • Excellent post Paul well done to you! very inspiring and i like the way you write! Very well done on the weight loss, sound like you're doing great!

  • Amazing post!

    I am also hoping to reach "overweight" so you have given me some hope. Not that I expect c25k to work miracles but the cardio strength and stamina and the feeling of success I get from each run will make doing more and reaching that coveted BMI easier. I'll be running with you and Mo.

  • What a most marvellous and heartwarming post. You truly are a superstar, no two ways about it. Thank you for sharing your story :)

  • I am sure that Mo would be proud to run with you, as indeed we all would, fellow runner. An excellent post highlighting the success of C25k. Many congratulations.

    Keep running, keep smiling.

  • a lovely inspiring post

  • Aaaaaaaah, I enjoyed that, thank you. I too share that 'me and Mo, we're in the same club' feeling.

    Happy running!

  • At age 67, my BMI is 25 (overweight) - and the calculator says that I would need to get down another 5Kg to get to "healthy weight" -- I guess that I can see that in the mirror , but I would be very skinny at that weight!! :) I don't think I have been that weight for a long, long time. I retired from the Navy 30 years ago - and still have my uniforms . I should drag them out and see if I can get into them. I also have my wedding suite dated about the same time - and can't get into that. But it also seems like my body /bones structure has changed - because while I can understand that I cant do up the trousers, I also cant even put the jacket on over my shoulders ( can't really understand that)

  • Hey Bazza! You just highlighted the other delight about C25K - getting into your old suits. I can just squeeze into one I haven't worn for ten years. Post us a picture of you in your uniform!

  • Absolutely great post! Very motivational, and well done you on the 5km achievement!

  • Super post and agree that this is probably one of the greatest initiatives for us normal people. We can all be superstars. I graduated 2 months ago and still running. Consider myself a proper runner now. Ran my 1st 10k last night and wouldn't have made it without the supportb ofb the group here.

    Well done to you Sir and keep going. Chris

  • From 5k to 10k in 2 months! Wow, that is really something to be proud of! Hope to join you in due course.

  • Just take it slow. Don't worry about pace, you will naturally speed up a bit anyway and don't try to do too much too quickly. Great club this. Chris

  • Congratulations Paul!! Loved your post too!:)

  • Congratulations You should be very proud of what you have achieved

  • Well done on reducing your BMI and many congratulations on completing 5 km :)

  • Congratulations on finishing C25K and what a lovely positive post! You're definitely the superstar :)

    One of my aims is to move from the 'obese' to 'overweight' BMI category as well. I wouldn't have thought that Mo was in the middle of the normal range, more the lower end. It just goes to show how perceptions of normal body weight have changed.

    As an aside, wouldn't running with Mo be great? At least, for the first two seconds before he burned off in a cloud of dust like the Road Runner :)

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