Being a long time Liverpool fan presents plenty of challenges, but nothing compared to that faced by Craig Kinnear over the last two years.
Since deciding to change his lifestyle dramatically in 2011, Craig has dropped almost six stone (38 kilos) down from 18 stone (114 kilos) through hard work and determination and next Monday, October 28, he will run the Dublin Marathon for the first time in aid of DEBRA Ireland.
“The charity I do all my runs for is DEBRA Ireland. They are the national charity for people living with EB in Ireland. EB is a rare skin condition, those who live with it have skin that will blister or tear at the slightest touch,” he says.
“I became aware of the charity through a friend who works for DEBRA and after learning of what people (mostly children) who have this condition have to go through on a daily basis I decided that I’d try to help as much I could.”
Craig puts a lot of his turnaround down to ditching junk food and putting aside the pints, something which was no doubt very difficult to do.
“I would have been a heavy drinker prior to two years ago and I just lived for the weekends where I’d probably have eight or more pints on a normal night,” he says.
“I knew that if I was going to take getting in to shape seriously I was going to have to give this up, which I did, and haven’t touched a drop since. My diet two years ago was awful - a mixture of pizzas, takeaways, frozen foods and other junk food. I don’t think I had ever made a proper meal for myself, pasta maybe with a Dolmio stir in was about as fancy as it got!
“Since I’ve become more useful in the kitchen and eat so much better. My main meals now would be stir fries, steaks, salads and others consisting of mostly chicken!”
Like many of us, Craig enjoys a bit of football with his mates but having such a bad diet and lifestyle was doing him no favours on the park. Despite being, by his own admission, an “average at best” player, Craig has noticed significant differences since embarking on his health kick.
“The difference that being fit makes in any game is unreal,” he says. “People that are far better footballers than you can even struggle against you as you just start to have an edge over them as you’re faster, stronger and more durable.
“Along with this you become more confident while playing as you know in your head that you’re bringing something to your team. For me personally, I’m not as lazy when it comes to things like tracking back and man marking while my desire to win any game has never been better.”
After months of hard work, Craig is into his last few days of preparation before Monday’s event and believes that anyone can embark on a same journey if they put their mind to it.
“Set goals not aspirations,” he advises. “If you want to change or achieve something just go and do it. Don’t waste more time by saying I’ll do it tomorrow.”
“If you’re looking in to getting in to long distance running just build yourself up gradually. I started with a 5k run 18 months ago, then a 10k and then a half marathon after that. If you’re planning to run for a charity get interested in what the charity does; it will make you care more and it will keep you going even when you feel you can’t go any more.
“Just keep creating goals as they set you a target to work towards and makes training easier.”
BackPageFootball is delighted to be Craig’s main sponsor for Monday’s marathon, and 100% of donations made to him will be going DEBRA Ireland. To donate, simply head to his MyCharity page, all support is greatly appreciated.