Weight loss champion Councillor Paul Sweet has set his sights on tackling next year’s Wolverhampton Marathon – after defying even his own expectations by completing the half-marathon last weekend.
At the time, he tipped the scales at 22st 7.5lbs – but he is now 6st, 6lbs lighter, having dramatically changed his diet and taking up a regular exercise regime which includes walking, cycling, running and working out in the gym.
And he put his new found fitness to the test by taking part in the half-marathon during Sunday’s Carver Wolverhampton Marathon events, completing the course in two hours, 30 minutes.
He said: “When I began my weight loss challenge I was over 22 stone and the prospect of running a mile, let alone 13, would have been completely out of the question.
“My goal has always been to improve my health and fitness to such a level that I would be able to complete the half-marathon. It was an amazing event, made even more special so by the many hundreds of people who turned out on the route to support those taking part who were raising money for good causes.
“It was an incredibly humbling experience to see so many people supporting others and one that I’ll never forget – so much so that I’m already looking forward to tackling the full marathon next year.”
He added: “I think I’ve surprised even myself by what I’ve achieved over the last 12 months and I’d like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way, including the Healthy Lifestyles Team, the British Heart Foundation and Wolverhampton and Bilston Athletics Club, as well as members of the council’s Public Health team, particularly Ros Jervis and Richard Welch, who joined me for workouts on a regular basis and on the day.”
Councillor Sweet was joined on Sunday by Councillors Stephen Simkins and Daniel Warren, who also took part in the obesity challenge and teamed up with the Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Ian Brookfield to complete the 20km cycle ride.
Both councillors Simkins and Warren said they were only able to take part in the cycle marathon as a result of their improved fitness levels.
All four councillors raised money for the Mayor’s chosen charities, while Councillor Sweet also made a donation to the British Heart Foundation.
The trio took part in their weight loss challenge after Wolverhampton’s Director of Public Health threw down the gauntlet to individuals and organisations to come together to tackle the growing problem of obesity in Wolverhampton.
An increasing number of adults and children are being classed as overweight or obese in Wolverhampton, and the council hosted a special Obesity Summit last November. It was attended by around 300 health professionals, businesses and community groups who met to analyse the issue and make practical commitments to address it on either a local or city-wide basis.