World's Heaviest Marathon Finisher at 400 lbs.

Heather Murphy-Raines/Scout's Honor
Nine hours. Forty-eight minutes. Fifty-two seconds.

Grueling and awe-inspiring to some -- crazy to others. Is it inspiration or idiocy to run a marathon at 400 pounds?

I can't say for certain what 40-year-old Kelly Gneiting, a former national champion sumo wrestler with a 60-inch waist, was thinking when he planned this feat. All I can say is, despite naysayers saying it was dangerous to his health and joints, he is my inspiration.


He may even be the world's inspiration, having possibly set a Guinness record when he ran the L.A. Marathon last Sunday.

Over 26 miles in driving rain, we don't know what his thoughts were before, but we do know what he was thinking after. "I did it, but it was hell," Gneiting said, shortly passing the finish line. "Pure hell ... My feet were on fire," he said. "Twice, blisters popped and just about brought me to my knees ... but I kept going."

Even more inspirational? This was not his first marathon. He ran the 2008 marathon in a little under 12 hours. Anyone else feeling like they need to get up off the couch?

{Note my raised hand}

I used to be fit. Thin in early high school, I treated my body like a garbage dump, but was always moving. College and the Army were the same. Always moving. I could eat whatever I wanted and still shrug it off.

Now at 38, I drive everywhere. I sit while I watch my kids at sports practices. Somehow the act of actual moving has gone out the window. No surprise, my body mirrors my lifestyle. I'm exhausted. I have to lose 60 pounds before I could even be labeled a healthy weight. A hundred to get me back to my college weight. Add fatty liver disease. I feel empty. It's easy to give up and stuff myself. I have tried to stuff my soul like so many American women with white flour and fat.

It. Would. Be. Easy. To. Give. Up.

It was easy to watch Biggest Loser and drown my depression while munching on a handful of chocolate chips and almonds from the pantry last night. I can jokingly blame my husband for the dozen or so Paula Deen red velvet cupcakes he made and I binged on at Valentine's Day. But I can blame no one but myself for sitting at Starbucks last night while my kids swam for two hours when there was a perfectly good track a block away.

This is not the role-model I want to be for my kids. I want to be Kelly Gneiting.  

My friends? Today is a new day. If a 400-pound man who is older than me can run for 11 hours and then do it again two years later, I can keep at it. I need to get off this couch and at my treadmill desk. You'll find me on the Daily Mile. Marathons may be a year or two off, but the Couch-to-5K Program is now my Bob Harper.

Who's with me? I'll keep you honest, if you keep me honest. Let's be Kelly. One mile at a time.


Image via Scouts Honor/

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