My friend, Russ, will be running his first marathon one week from today. Actually, it’s his first marathon in about thirty years. He will be heading to Seattle to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon. For those of us in The Village Runners, we have had the pleasure of getting to know Russ over the last year. Many of us met him for the first time during a Runners Boot Camp conducted by Run University a year ago. By that time, he had lost around 90 pounds for the year. Yes, that’s right. I said 90 pounds in less than six months. He was still a little heavy, which made boot camp challenging for him. However, he never quit and completed every drill regardless how long it took. His tenacity was noticed by everyone.
We invited Russ to run with The Village Runners and he was a little reluctant but came out to Mountain Brook Village. Ever since that day, Russ has been running with us consistently. He’s also set numerous running milestones along the way. He ran a half marathon in Greenville, South Carolina, before adding several more afterwards. His training has been focused and determined along the way. Whether he is in Birmingham or traveling around the country, Russ gets his runs done. The marathon was a natural next step for him.
Russ ran a marathon in the early 1980s in Dallas. Back in the day, he was a very fast runner. As with many of us, the challenges of life derailed him a bit. At the beginning of 2011, he made the decision to lose weight and get healthy. He changed his eating habits and added exercise to his routine. He started a “couch to 5k” program through Fleet Feet in Birmingham. He’s been to Biggest Loser resorts a couple of times. He started crossfit at Iron Tribe Fitness. On top of all that, he may be the most diligent person I know when it comes to eating right. I don’t know the exact amount of weight Russ has lost over the past 18 months, but I believe it is somewhere around 160 pounds.
I would be remiss to only describe Russ by his fitness and diet accomplishments. He is one of the best people you could meet. He is a committed Christian man that lives what he believes. I don’t think you could find anyone that would have anything bad to say about Russ. He is so genuine that you just pull for him to reach his goals. Because of his commitment to his goals, he always does.
I don’t want to try to tell his story in this blog. That wouldn’t be fair to him. What I would ask is for anyone who reads this to say a prayer for Russ as he prepares for his marathon. Pray that he has safe travels to Seattle and has a great time. If anyone deserves it, Russ does!