On the left is John at his worst, on the right, finishing the City2Surf in 2014.

On the left is John suffering from poor health as a highly medicated 50 year old. Centre running in the 2013 City2Surf and right, in 2014.

Article by John Bakker:

I was always a yoyo diet person. I tried many of them and with some I found success. One of these success times was when I first did the City2Surf. It was 10th August 2008. I walked that City2Surf in 2:04:13.

Just over 2 years ago I was about to turn 50. I was at my peak weight of 168kg. My son was getting married that year and I was a very sick man. Medicated for High Blood Pressure, Cholesterol and Gout. Doctor told me I was on the edge of getting Type2 Diabetes. I was breathless just to walk 50 metres and struggled to tie up my shoe laces. ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH…

I decided to join the gym in Goulburn. YMCA. The Gym instructor was setting a program up for me. At the time she had me on the Concept2 Rower. I did 3 minutes and the Instructor told me to stop before I had a heart attack. It is amazing as I look back, because I do 3hr Marathons on that same machine now.

I dropped the diet thinking and started the healthy eating thinking. I worked hard in the pool and gym and began to walk everywhere. I read and read books and was inspired by other success stories. That year I did the City2Surf 11th August 2013. I did it in 1:50:48. After the walk/run my wife and I decided to walk to Bondi Junction as the bus line was huge. I once lived in Bondi in my Navy days in the 1980s. I was in PAIN for a week. Struggled with muscle soreness.

If I can do it as a 52 year old, once fat man, anybody can do it. Ditch the diet thinking and eat healthy and exercise. Start slow and let it build.

By 2014, I’d lost over 78kg and my fitness levels was through the roof. I RAN the City2Surf in a PB of 1:26:23. I could have done better, but I paced myself as the memory of 2013 was still fresh in my mind.

Since then I won a Forerunner GPS watch 220 on the Garmin Australia Facebook page. This watch has become my coach. I run every second day and I average 14 to 20km each time. I have registered to run my first Marathon in Canberra. 42.2km in April. I have registered to do the City2Surf again this year. My main goal is the Marathon at the moment in April. I am on target and my greatest distance so far is 34km. After that run I felt great except a bit of pain in the butt muscles. Not the legs.

I have become addicted to running and long distance running. I am now medication free. I am healthy and my blood results prove that.


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