Rocky dad runs off quarter of his body weight
RUNNING: Mark Harris is taking big strides towards a healthier lifestyle and he's hoping to inspire more overweight people to follow in his footsteps.
The Rockhampton dad now weighs 134kg, having stripped 42kg from his original hulking frame since recurring problems with his ankles prompted him to take action.
He attributes much of his weight loss to his involvement in Rockhampton parkrun, the free 5km timed run held at the city's Botanic Gardens each Saturday.
Mark, his son Connor and his mum Cheryl are regulars, and Mark clocked up his 102nd appearance at the weekend.
He then backed up to complete his first 10km race, captaining the Rockhampton parkrun team in the annual 7 Rocky River Run on Sunday.
Mark knew it would be a challenge but he vowed beforehand that "run, walk or crawl” he would get to the finish line.
He did just that, crossing the line in a slow jog in 93 minutes, just three minutes over the time he was hoping for.
"It was a proud moment,” Mark said.
"It was absolutely fantastic to get to the finish line and there was a big group cheering me on.”
Mark said he felt very nervous at the start line on Sunday but he worked his way into the race pretty well.
"I started really well and was going alright up to about the 6km mark and it was like I hit a wall.
"I felt like I was running on the spot. It was pretty hard and I was wondering if I would actually be able to finish it.
"I walked a little bit but then kept pushing on with a very slow jog.
"There were a lot of fellow parkrun team members on the course and spectators as well encouraging me so that was motivation to keep going.”
Connor was also in the field, providing another incentive for Mark to finish.
"He ended up beating me by three minutes. He ran with me for the first 50m and then he said I'll see you at the finish line.
"His main goal was to beat me and my goal was to catch him.
"As soon as we finished, Connor was talking about doing it again next year - and he was thinking the 21km.
"The 10km is definitely a reality again next year and I'm not ruling out the 21km.”
Mark said he would be park at parkrun again this Saturday as he continues towards his goal of 130kg.
"That's my first goal, not my end goal. I'm just not sure what the end goal is yet,” he said.
"Hopefully what I'm doing will encourage other overweight people to get in there and give it a go.”