Updated: Tuesday, 23rd July 2019 @ 3:52pm

Former 25-stone man to repeat Run in the Dark to celebrate bright future

Former 25-stone man to repeat Run in the Dark to celebrate bright future

| By Fiona Tomas

Manchester is a special place for Andrew Clayton.

As a former type II diabetes sufferer who was chronically obese, this is the city where the 33-year-old began transforming his life, when he completed his first 5k race two years ago at a ‘Run in the Dark’ event.

To more experienced runners, 5k might seem an easy run. But for Andrew, who was lugging his 25 stone body weight over the distance, it was the start of a personal marathon.

He was in his own race against time to overcome his diabetes or else face some serious health issues. 

Andrew’s HbA1c protein level was sitting at 79, way above the threshold for diabetes of 48. The dietician warned him that he had three months to bring his level down to under 56 or they would have to step in and offer medical help.

So Andrew literally emptied his cupboards and started on a Low Glycemic diet to help keep his blood sugar levels consistent.

“I was chronically obese, unfit and I was getting more and more miserable,” he said.

“The diagnosis delivered the message loud and clear that I was killing myself, but my GP had faith that my obesity was the root of the problem and with weight loss I may be able to reverse my diabetes.”

The debut run sparked the start of something life-changing for Andrew. Since that initial 5k race in 2014, he has lost a staggering 10 stone and now identifies himself as a self-obsessed runner.

Three months after his ‘Run in the Dark’ race, he was three stone lighter and discovered that his HbA1c level was below 40.

This meant that he had gone straight through the diabetes zone, out the other side and had successfully reversed his diabetes.  

“Everyone, including my GP was absolutely flabbergasted,” Andrew added.

“That news was all I needed to keep going. Six months later I’d lost over 6 stone and as my weight loss had begun to plateau a bit I decided to start the Couch to 5k programme.

“When I saw the date of Run in the Dark Manchester 2015 I signed up straight away as it fit perfectly with the training plan.”

Next month, Andrew is returning to Manchester to once again compete in the ‘Run in the Dark’ event – which is returning for its fourth year.

He will join hundreds of other runners in the unique night time race, where participants will set out on a course around Salford Quays as darkness falls to run either 5k or 10k.

“The idea of a night run really does translate into real life and I had so much fun at the event last year.

“As my first ever timed 5k race, Run in the Dark holds a special place in my heart. I’m excited to be back this year and am aiming to run the 5k course under 25 minutes!”

Although he’s well on the home strait, Andrew has one last challenge to tick off from his bucket list – to run up the Rock of Gibraltar, after being unable to even walk up it when he was at his heaviest.

Andrew will be fundraising for Diabetes UK this year, and you will be able to donate at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/diabetesintodarkness2016.

If you would like to be a part of this worldwide phenomenon, which supports The Mark Pollock Trust in fast tracking a cure for paralysis, please visit runinthedark.org