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Posted on 4th May 2018
A teacher who weighed 24 stone and could not run for 30 seconds is training for the London Marathon.
Shawki Bakkar, assistant headteacher at Burnt Mill Academy in Harlow, was inspired to lose weight, get fit and take on the mammoth physical challenge after watching last year’s sporting event.
At the time, he hadn’t considered his weight as an issue, regularly eating takeaways and sugar late at night.
He said: “What I realise now is that I was sleeping badly, having terrible nightmares and wasn’t very confident or sociable. I had never run a metre in my life; I’d never exercised, if I’m honest. But, watching the London Marathon and seeing how everyone was supporting each other really inspired me to do something about my weight. It made me think taking part was the perfect opportunity and a great excuse to lose weight and get fit.”
Mr Bakkar, who is raising money for Great Ormond Street Hospital, now weighs 18 stone and runs four times a week, for up to 70 minutes at a time. He is hoping to get down to 15 stone before the marathon in April and has already dropped four clothes sizes.
He will take part in a half marathon in Milton Keynes in March as part of his training.
He said: “When I started my marathon training, my plan was to run for 30 seconds and walk for 30 seconds, ten times. I was shocked to find I couldn’t even run for 30 seconds; my heart was racing. It was a massive struggle; my body simply couldn’t do it.
“It has been really tough; it still is tough. I have also massively changed my diet. I used to raid the biscuit tin and would have croissants or whatever was available for breakfast. Now, I have porridge for breakfast and a healthy salad for lunch and only have takeaways as an occasional weekend treat.
“I have got lots more energy now, I sleep better and am more comfortable and happy. I was wearing size XXXL in tshirts; that has all changed now.
“I never in a billion years would ever have seen me running a marathon. I have been taken aback by the support I am getting from the Burnt Mill community.
“I was invited to visit Great Ormond Street and what I saw was heartbreaking and life-changing. I would never give up now because of what I saw and how amazing the hospital is.”
Support Mr Bakkar’s fundraising mission –
· Follow @runbakkarrun on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for training updates and videos · Sponsor at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/runbakkarrun
· Friday February 9, 1pm - Mr Bakkar's School Run – Running between BMAT primary schools in Harlow, finishing at Burnt Mill, with staff and students joining him along the way with collection buckets
· Thursday March 8, 6pm to 8:30pm - Bakkaroke - Staff and student karaoke night at Burnt Mill
· Friday March 23, 7:30pm - Bakkar2The90s - Public event with live band and all 90s music.