28-stone Limerickman not letting his size weigh him down for year ahead

Anne Sheridan


Anne Sheridan

A 28-STONE Limerickman is envious of those who have just a stone or two to lose in the new year.

A 28-STONE Limerickman is envious of those who have just a stone or two to lose in the new year.

After dropping 13 stone last year, Gary Kirwan is hoping to lose another 12 stone this year to prepare himself to take on the challenge of a lifetime.

Mr Kirwan, who ran the Dublin marathon last year in just under 11 hours, has set himself an ambitious goal of running an ultra-marathon in 2013.

The 31 year-old from Corbally aims is to run the Sahara marathon - a staggering 252km over five days in Morocco - in April 2013.

“I’m doing this for me. It just appeals to me and I’ve come so far, I really want to test myself and see can I do it,” he told the Limerick Leader.

“I decided last August I wanted something major to aim towards. I read about lots of events and said they weren’t for me. My weight has held me back from doing tons of stuff but when I saw this I figured ‘why not’? My diet has to continue, and I’ll have to get down to around 16 stone and be very fit to do it,” he explained.

Last month he completed the Dublin city marathon in 10 hours and 46 minutes, and at that stage vowed to himself that he was going to run or walk an even bigger race.

He now weighs 28 stone, down 13 stone from his heaviest weight of 41 stone with the help of the Motivation weight management clinic.

He plans to do a triathlon this year, and run the Dublin marathon again to prepare for the gruelling Sahara race.

“It will be a major test for myself to see if I can do it,” he said. Mr Kirwan spoke out to encourage others to try to stick to their new year resolutions.

“I hear people talking about the weight they have to lose, and I would love to be at the stage where I only have a stone or two to lose. The only thing I can say is you have to keep with it; everyone has good days and bad days,” he said.

He will be seeking sponsorship for the Sahara trip which could cost in the region of €15,000, including training and physiotherapy.

Mr Kirwan said completing the 32nd Dublin City Marathon in December last was an “unbelievable” experience, even though he was the last person to cross the finishing line.

After struggling to find a scales that could weigh him accurately, he contacted the show in the Fix it Friday slot this time last year to help him determine how much his weight had ballooned since losing his job.

The six foot two inch man has since helped countless others to lose weight thanks to his own personal ‘operation transformation’.

Sticking with a rigid diet can “get a bit mundane, and you can get a bit bored”, but he said the whole process is “exciting” and is opening up “a whole new world” to him.

“This time last year I really thought there was no one out there my size. I’m trying to get the message out that if I can do it anyone can, ” he said.

He now walks for eight hours a week, swims every day and does four personal training sessions a week, while his strict diet largely consists of chicken breasts, white fish, and vegetables.