Slimline runner hopes he can inspire others

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WEIGHING more than 31st, Matthew Briggs had difficulty running for a bus three years ago, let alone a marathon.

But now, after shedding an incredible 17st 10lb, he has accomplished what he never believed possible then.

“I wouldn’t have contemplated getting up on a Sunday morning to do 26 miles,” he said.

“I didn’t really want to this morning either, but I did it.”

Mr Briggs, 31, from Huntington, York, began to pile on the pounds after his mother died from multiple sclerosis when he was 17.

But his life was transformed when he joined Slimming World in January 2010.

After losing 10st in a year through diet alone, his focus shifted to getting fitter in 2011 and he started walking to and from work, joined a gym and eventually took up running.

Over the past 18 months he has taken part in the Humber Bridge, Great North Run and Bridlington half marathons and the Spen 20-mile road race and the London Marathon.

He completed the Plusnet Yorkshire Marathon in four hours, 52 minutes and 32 seconds, cheered on by members of the three groups he now runs in Strensall, Fulford and Holgate.

Mr Briggs, who has just been appointed as the club’s York area team developer, said: “It’s been really nice because every few miles I’ve had people shouting for me. That’s been the best bit, because it’s my local town.

“In London they shout your name because it’s on your bib but when they shout it here, you look up and it’s somebody you know. It gives you that extra boost.”

Mr Briggs, who said he hoped to be an inspiration for his members, now has his sights set on the Rome and New York marathons next year.