Inspiring Stories

To read an inspiring story, click on the links below:
This is the story of Richard Durkin's goal to lose weight and one day run a marathon

Richard DurkinThis is me. Or should I say, was me. This picture was taken in the summer of 2002 when I was 14 years old. Back then, I weighed 16 stone. Hearing lots of stories of people losing masses of weight, I told myself these stories were just there to give people false hope. But with the help and inspiration from my older sister, Nick, my views were changed. In the space of a few months, my sister had begun to lose weight, with the effects being noticeable almost immediately. This made me realise that all these stories I'd heard were actually true. Having no excuse - and being competitive, I decided to start losing weight and catch up with Nick. Nick lost 3 stone in weight, reaching a healthy weight, and I managed to lose 5 stone in weight, also reaching a healthy weight. Neither of us could have lost the weight without the support of our parents, Diane & David, who were both hugely supportive throughout our efforts. Whilst losing the weight, I had a thought in the back of my mind- 'after I've got rid of this weight, it would be pretty cool to one day, complete a long distance run-' that's something I never got round to doing. That is, until...

Fast forward roughly three and a half years. April 2010 - An email was sent round to staff, inviting us to participate in the Sheffield Half Marathon. As I read the email, I couldn't help but remind myself of 'that thought' I had a few years ago. I was in. On the 25th April 2010, I started the Sheffield Half Marathon. I'd never ran so far in my life! As the starting horn went off at 9.35am, a 'Mexican Wave' of cheers went round the 5,500 people lined up on the track at the Don Valley Stadium. Heart thumping, adrenalin buzzing, hairs on end - I was off, finally able to break out into a run. I still couldn't believe I was actually doing this.

Half a mile to go - Don Valley in site. This was the pick-me-up I needed, and I couldn't wait for my turn to cross the line. Tiredness had been long set in, but somehow my legs kept going towards what I'd been dreaming of for the past week - to cross the finish line. The noise of the crowd louder as I came nearer the stadium, and a clock came into sight. 1 Hour 46 minutes and 12 seconds after the starting horn sounded, I crossed the finish line. Ecstatic I'd beaten my target, I decided to go and find my mum, dad and girlfriend- although I knew my girlfriend would be at the finish line in support, my parents had surprised me and made the 90-mile trip from home to support me.

I was hooked. One race was all it took.

After a more dedicated training regime, in which I joined the Sheffield Running Club - and with the help of Dave O, on the 3rd October 2010, I embarked upon my first full Marathon - the Clarendon Way Marathon. A tough 26.2 mile multi-terrain run from Salisbury to the picturesque Cathedral Town of Winchester.

I decided to run for Weight Concern as it's a charity that is primarily focused on helping people overcome obesity. Having being obese once, I appreciate how hard it is to change your ways and adopt a healthier lifestyle. However, when you achieve your ideal weight, whatever it may be, the feeling is great. My life changed as a result - I am happier, more confident and I do more things. Without the help and support I was given from my family, I don't think I would have achieved as much as I have done. Weight Concern can help give more support and advice to those wanting to lose weight, as well as offering advice and tips from experts who know the best ways to lose weight.

I wake up on the Sunday morning too a cold, rainy day. Ideal conditions for a race - if it wasn't off road… After warming up, all of the 391 Marathon runners line up, and are eager to go. The hooter sounds, and we're off. Trying to dodge my way round puddles, veteran runners are just getting it over and done with and get their feet wet - they know what lays in store. My white socks were gradually becoming a darker shade a grey with every step, and more mud was clinging to my trainers. After a few drink stops, and passing my parents who are following my progress at various stages, I reach the halfway stage around 12.25, about 10 minutes after the half marathon runners were started.

At about 22 miles, the steepest hill comes. It's too wet to climb whilst running - nobody runs up it, and everyone is left with walking up the toughest part of the course. I knew this would make the last four miles really tough, as I've just lost the only momentum I had. The next time I see my parents cheering me on, along with the Ryder Cup update (Europe were leading and looking strong to win), my parents said Steph had arrived at Winchester station on time, and was 3 miles down the road with Nicola ready to cheer me on.

I reach the top of yet another hill (the hills of Sheffield never prepared me for these hills), and had a quarter of mile to go, and it was downhill. The finish line comes in sight. Although there's no power finish today, I'm just as happy, if not more, to cross the line at 2.32pm - 4 hours 32 minutes and 42 seconds after I started. Finally, the thing I never ever thought I'd do- I'd just done it.

Richard Durkin and familyThis is me now, with Mum, Dad, Nick and Steph, just after I completed the Marathon. This picture would never have been possible if it was not for the love and support I received from the four in the picture with me. I cannot put into words how amazing it felt to cross that finish line.

Richard raised an impressive and greatly appreciated £400 for Weight Concern in his fundraising efforts.

A great many thanks go to Richard and all who supported him.

Well done!

If you would like to fundraise for Weight Concern or make a donation, please click here or email us at

This is a story about Hannah Wetz and what led her to take on the Fairlands Valley Challenge and fundraise for Weight Concern.

Hannah WetzI'm having a "fat day."

It's totally irrational. All day I've been feeling glum and to get through it I've tucked into some peanut butter cups and one, two, three, et cetera, bowls of cereal. It's a typical routine, frustrating and depressing as it reminds me of a daily routine 18 months ago, before I took my weight and health in hand and started apply my dreams of a cleansed, active body. So I'm slumped in my bed watching iPlayer, looking at my body which has morphed into a whale, and decide to sign up to the London 10km race, happening in 8 weeks' time, and while I'm at it, the Fairlands Valley Challenge 12.3 mile run in 9 weeks.

…It has been nine weeks since my "fat day" and 48 hours since I crossed the finish line at 12.3 miles. It wasn't the most jubilant finish: My leg muscles were decisively stiff, my ankles not feeling great having stuck loyally to running in my old Reebok hi-tops, and having felt ready to finish for the last four miles. But I crossed the finish line, and I had run the entire route except for orientation at a few points along the cross-country way.

Indeed, I did the run with one of my dearest and oldest school friends, Kate. At school, we had accompanied each other for our crisps and chocolate feasts, and shared the opinion that long-distance running just isn't for some people. Now, we have lost nearly 8 stones between us (Kate, 5, me, 3) and ran just short of a marathon. About a mile before the end, Kate took the map and really went for it, finishing a few minutes before me. I had time to think about what we had almost done. I was surprised – never thinking that we would be willingly taking part in a cross-country run - and very proud. Rather than not caring about food or exercise, being overweight forced food to rule my life. Everything was a reason for eating, an excuse for eating so much; laziness was a result of being easily worn out, or not finding time between meals to get things done. Isn't it awful how hard we have to try to eat natural foods that we have evolved to eat? The superbrands and supermarkets and super-economies want to kill us…or at least make us lazy or incompetent enough to avoid making the most obvious decision about food. Which is better for our bodies to function: A snickers, or some fruit and nuts - not sugared or crystallised or salted or honeyed or roasted! The real stuff! The stuff that we ate to survive the ages! See now, the realisation of this blatant fact clicked, and here I am, at a healthy weight and not even thinking about excuses to eat food. The 12 miles were certainly a challenge, but eating normally needn't be. It's something we must do in order to survive and of course, to enjoy life (eating is so much more fun when you're not doing it all the time!).

I wanted to support Weight Concern because obesity is an awful epidemic that is seizing much of the western world, which tries to give us what we want right here, right now, not what we really crave, which is to optimally function as human beings. The most satisfaction is to be and do what you want to do each day, not think about what that is over a chicken korma. Each person that is saved from the tempting lure of obesity is worth running 12 miles for. So, perhaps, if you're having a fat-day too, try mooching around online for a local run…

Hannah raised a fantastic £260 for Weight Concern. A big thank you to all who sponsored her and to Hannah for deciding to raise money for Weight Concern.

If you would like to fundraise for Weight Concern or make a donation, please click here or email us at

On Sunday 27th November 2011, Jonny Grunwald, Abbe West and Sharon Geddis from Nuffield Health took part in a charity spinathon to fundraise for Weight Concern.

Nuffield Spinathon

They were spinning for 3 hours and raised an impressive £240! Thank you to all who supported them!

If you would like to fundraise for Weight Concern or make a donation, please click here or email us at

In March 2012, Ross contacted Weight Concern after signing up to an Ultramarathon across the Atacama Desert in Chile.

You can find out how Ross got on by reading his blog.

The Ultramarathon is an amazing challenge, and we are deeply flattered that Ross chose to fundraise for Weight Concern. As a small charity, we really appreciate it when members of the public decide to raise money for us. Ross has raised £250.

If you would like to fundraise for Weight Concern or make a donation, please click here or email us at

DrewI first saw the Shape-Up poster in the summer of 2010, so I called for more information. I was invited to join the programme in September. I was almost 16 stone and I had tried many things to lose weight. I decided to do it; the course was free, only lasted 8 weeks at the time and sounded interesting. It was the last chance for me to shift this unwanted weight. I went along and in the first week found out that it was not a quick fix and the main point of the programme was to give me tools to lose weight and mainly to keep it off. After I started to use the first tool of keeping a food diary, I started to lose weight. I was so happy. I followed the programme to the end and tried my best to use and learn from each suggestion they made. At the end of the course I had lost 2lbs a week, so I lost over a stone. By Christmas, 4 months on, I had shed over 2 stone. After a year and a half, I stopped using the tools and the weight started to creep back up. I went along and topped up on the sessions again. Over the 2 years, I have managed to keep the 2 stone off. My goal is to lose another stone, so I will keep working at the suggestions and I know I will get there. I highly reccommend Shape-Up to anyone that wants to lose weight, maintain their weight, or to anyone who just wants to learn more about being a healthier person. It has changed my life and I am very grateful.

Click here to download pdf

Do you have an inspiring story that you would like to share with Weight Concern? If so, why not email us at