London Marathon 2022: Yorkshire dad loses 11 stone after Rob Burrow's battle gave him health wake-up call

At the end of 2019, teaching assistant Dominic Camponi made a decision that would change his life.

The 38-year-old from Liversedge struggled to exercise due to lifelong asthma and his weight had shot up to over 22 stone.

He was listening to former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow discuss his diagnosis with motor neurone disease and realised that he needed to take stock of his own health for the sake of his son Henry, six.

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This weekend, Mr Camponi will run the London Marathon – having lost 11 stone and become a fell runner during an incredible fitness journey.

Dominic Camponi before and after his 11-stone weight lossDominic Camponi before and after his 11-stone weight loss
Dominic Camponi before and after his 11-stone weight loss

When he first began running, the Dewsbury Road Runners member couldn’t go out without his inhaler and could only manage a mile each day. He joined Weight Watchers in January 2020 and swapped his diet of takeaways for lean protein, vegetables and fruit.

"I was having to take my reliever inhaler multiple times a day at the time and got breathless just going up the stairs. I began worrying that I might not be around to watch Henry grow up. Asthma can be fatal and being overweight can make it much worse, you’re more likely to have symptoms and asthma attacks,” said Mr Camponi.

"At first, running was really hard because of how heavy I was and I couldn’t ever go out without my inhaler as I had to take it before I set off and occasionally whilst I was out too.”

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After 18 months he was running four miles each day and in May 2021 completed a marathon distance for the first time.

Dominic now runs with his son Henry at Oakwell Hall parkrunDominic now runs with his son Henry at Oakwell Hall parkrun
Dominic now runs with his son Henry at Oakwell Hall parkrun

“I built up my running slowly and ran every day for 502 days. I completed a virtual marathon of 26.2 miles to celebrate 500 days of running daily. I ran it in three hours 46 minutes - which equated to eight minutes and 38 seconds per mile - and felt incredibly proud. To put that into perspective, my first Parkrun in January 2020 was just over three miles and took me 48 minutes and 37 seconds which is over 16 minutes per mile.

“I felt so much better in all aspects of my life as I had so much more energy and could finally keep up with my very active son.

“My asthma improved immensely. I finally managed to get it under control for the first time in years. I went from having to use my inhaler multiple times a day to only once or twice per week.”

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He even changed career, having previously been a bus driver, and now works with young people who have learning difficulties.

“I have wanted to run London Marathon for many years as I have always found watching it on television so inspiring, especially seeing all the different charity vests and all the people that come out to cheer on total strangers.”

Mr Camponi is running for Asthma and Lung UK.

“As a child I struggled to do much exercise because of my asthma but with the right medication now it doesn’t stop me from taking part in sport and exercise.”

Anyone interested in applying for an Asthma and Lung UK place in next year’s London Marathon should visit