In September 2007 Steve Way, by his own admission, was a mess.
Bournemouth’s Way, now 40, was lazy, unfocused, drank and smoked too much, had high blood pressure, and lived off a diet of junk food and kebabs, he told BBC Sport’s Ben Dirs just before his Commonwealth Games marathon debut.
“I was at my heaviest, about 16 and a half stone, and I was smoking about 20 cigarettes a day. I’d have sleepless nights because of the coughing.
“I’d be lying if I said I had an epiphany but I didn’t like the person I saw in the mirror in the morning and I do remember the emotion I felt, the feeling that ‘right, I’ve really got to do something, make some changes’.
“I wasn’t clinically depressed but I was just moseying from one day to the next. I had no goals in life. There was nothing going on to get me excited.”
So he made a change. He “didn’t really take any interest in sport at school” but took up running seriously, targeting huge weight loss.
Steve quickly became very, very good at it.
In just seven months, he made his marathon debut and clocked 2:35:26, coming 100th in London. Obviously this was a man with untapped natural talent.
Three years after his ‘epiphany’, he had lost five stone and was a lean, mean, running machine.
But, in his mid-30s, surely it was too late?
Wrong. With the support of his wife, he switched from a cushty IT job to a less well-paid but more flexible role at a bank, trained his heart out and, at this year’s London marathon, put in a stunning run to finish 15th, ahead of Britain’s Olympic entry Scott Overall.
And his time of 2:16:27 was within the qualification threshold to represent England at the Commonwealth Games.
Here is a before and after shot of Steve seven years ago, and Steve before the Games:
That would be an incredible achievement in itself. But Steve wasn’t finished.
In a star-studded field at the Commonwealth Games 2014.. packed with Kenyans, he came 10th in a personal best time of 2:15:16, the highest-placing Englishman and second-fastest Briton.
A delighted Way told BBC Sport after the race:
“It doesn’t get much better than that. The race went off at quite a slow pace, so I was leading for some of the first part, which was just brilliant.
“The magic goal for me was to get top 10, personal best and the British veteran’s record, and I’ve achieved all those, so I’m going to go and have a drink.”
Make it just the one drink, eh – you’ve got Rio to think about in two years.
Source Credits: Yahoo Sports (UK & Ireland) and Daily Mail