SURREY — Kendall Gilleran is set to run her first half marathon in the Surrey International World Music Marathon on Sept. 29.
It’s quite the feat for someone who’s picked up running – and dropped 65 pounds – in the last two years.
The Surrey resident found herself at 240 pounds in early 2012, but thanks to running and counting calories, she said she’s living a more fulfilling life.
“I was sad and miserable before. I did nothing. I went to work, I came home, I ate in my bedroom and went to sleep. I never left the house,” Gilleran said. “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life right now.”
Gilleran’s life changed when she went to the doctor with stomach pains and was told she had fat in her liver. She was told there was a chance it could turn into cancer.
Hearing that made her want to become a healthier person.
“I lost four pounds and went back to the doctor to follow up on some tests. She told me to come back when I lost 40, and I laughed. But then I did,” Gilleran said. “That was my first goal. The next goal was to get to 174.6 (pounds), because that officially categorizes me on the BMI scale as overweight, not obese.”
She reached that goal and no longer has stomach issues. But she’s not done.
“My driver’s licence says 150 pounds, so that’s kind of my goal I’ve set in my head. I set little goals along the way to keep myself going.”
Gilleran said she was never stick thin, but played soccer for 13 years, which kept her in shape. When she began working and attending school, she stopped exercising and that’s when the weight gain crept up.
The discovery of a “Couch to 5K” program changed her life. The program progressively works participants up from walking to running five kilometres.
Gilleran loved it.
“I have friends who go to the gym and run on a treadmill and lift weights. To me that doesn’t sound fun, it sounds like work,” she said. “Running I can do with friends. I can run somewhere new and discover a new part of the city.”
Gilleran has done several runs, including Fun with the Fuzz in Bellingham and the Electric Run in Seattle, an event with DJs and light shows along the route. Among her accomplishments are many five- and 10-kilometre runs, including the 5K run in last year’s Surrey music marathon.
Gilleran is excited to add the 21.1-km half marathon to her list of accomplishments this year.
She expects she’ll do well on the route, because it’s in her neighbourhood.
“I think it would be more scary if it wasn’t my own backyard,” she said.
She would be ecstatic to complete the run in two hours and 15 minutes, but said she’ll be proud just to cross the finish line.
Gilleran encourages others to lace up their sneakers and get running.
Her best advice for beginners would be to set small goals along the way.
“I didn’t focus on losing 100 pounds. I lost five, then 40. I didn’t have to run a marathon right off the bat, I had to do the weekly programs, then I only had to run 5K,” she said.
“Don’t focus on the big, huge picture. Focus on the little goals along the way so you can celebrate those achievements.”
The Surrey International World Music Marathon is set for Sept. 29. Participants can choose to do the marathon, half marathon, relay or kid’s fun run. Visit surreymarathon.com for more information and to register.
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