James runs from fat to fit

Runner James Howat, who will complete 500km in 2014 in organised running and triathlon events
Runner James Howat, who will complete 500km in 2014 in organised running and triathlon events
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A fitness fan who traded in takeaways for training has embarked on an impressive 500km charity challenge.

James Howat weighed in at 21 stone and could barely walk a few hundred metres without breaking into a sweat six years ago.

Runner James Howat pictured before his weight loss

Runner James Howat pictured before his weight loss

But after shedding a third of his body weight, and completing 17 half marathons to date, he has set himself his greatest goal yet.

In 2014, James will cover more than 500km in organised sports events. This will include half marathons, a full marathon and three half Ironman distance triathlons among other events.

James, aged 31, of Collegiate Crescent, Broomhall, said: “It all started when I was about 21 stone. I was walking from town to Broomhill one day and when I got to Broomhill I was a wreck. I was red-faced, sweating and an absolute state.

“I got the thought in my head that I needed to go for a run, so I started running that same route.

“It was hell for the first couple of weeks - I had to walk to a lamp post, then run to the next lamp post, and so on. But after a couple of weeks I started to see a bit of improvement.”

James, a helpline advisor for housing charity Shelter, completed his first half marathon in Sheffield in 2008. He completed the London Marathon in 2011 and 2012, and his first Olympic distance triathlon last September.

His charity challenge is raising money for Sands - Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Charity - and disability charity Scope. To follow James’ progress and to make a donation, visit www.facebook.com/500kmchallenge.