Have you heard the one about the overweight 37-year-old bank teller who became one of the best runners in his country?
How hard is it to make a high-caliber team? The Vanessa-Mae (who cheated her way onto a low-caliber team) notwithstanding, it’s exceedingly difficult to represent your country in any serious competition. High level of talent plus a training-your-whole-life kind of thing.
And of course, competing for a country with the athletic pedigree of England is no small feat. So how about this story from the archives.
Steven Way, a bank employee, was 231 pounds and smoked nearly two dozen cigarettes a day in 2007. He was also a junk food addict with high blood pressure.
So how did this man, who had never run in competition, come to represent England in the Commonwealth Games?
He put down the cigarettes and Big Macs and picked up a pair of running shoes in 2007. His objective: running the 2008 London Marathon…in under three hours. Now, it has to be said, such a goal is incredibly, incredibly ambitious. Way ran the marathon in two hours and thirty five minutes.
At this point, he kicked his already intense training into overdrive. Way began running two times per day, every day, hoping to run 140 miles per week. And if you’re tallying at home, that’s a lot.
He finished the 2010 London marathon in under two hours and 20 minutes and then began training for longer races. And in the course of training for a 100K in 2014, he ran the (now puny) London Marathon and finished 15th.
And as he was the third-fastest Brit at the 2014 marathon, he got an invite for the Commonwealth games, finishing 10th. Even better: at the 2014 British Athletics National 100 km championship, Way completed the course in 6:19:20, coming in first place and setting a new British record.