FIGHTING FIT: Darren Howlett lost about 100kg in two years through a combination of running and a healthy diet.
FIGHTING FIT: Darren Howlett lost about 100kg in two years through a combination of running and a healthy diet.

Couple jogs to lose more than 125kg

FOUR years ago, Darren and Sam Howlett decided to make a change.

They were both overweight, eating poorly and spending their evenings wallowing on the couch.

"We were just slowly dying, sitting watching TV and eating junk," Sam said.

"All the kids were starting to grow up and we thought 'is this it for our lives?'.

"We were just too exhausted to do anything."

At the time, Sam was 113kg and Darren weighed 196kg. Now they are down to 63kg and 120kg respectively.

Along with cleaning up their diet, the Howletts started regular walking and running.

"My diet had a huge overhaul. We cut out all junk food and take-away and basically within the first week I started losing weight," Sam said.

"I started a Couch to 5km program."

It started with interval running, with Sam jogging for a few hundred metres, then walking for a bit before jogging some more.

It took Sam eight weeks to walk the full 5km without stopping and another 12 weeks before she could run the same distance.

Sam is a now a regular on the marathon circuit and she is really keen on extreme long distance running, having competed in two 100km races.

"I train six days a week, running anything from 60 to 100km per week.

"I'm about to enter my third 100km race."

For most of us the thought of a 100km race seems like madness, but for Sam it's about personal strength.

"You start and you just go until you've got to the end. It's your body verse your mind," she said.

"My first one took me about 20 hours to finish and the last one I did was 27 hours in the Gold Coast hinterland. It was called the Kokoda Challenge.

As you can imagine, it takes a while to run, jog and walk 100km.

"A fast time is anything for 12 to 15 hours but depends on the course," Sam said.

Darren's story is much the same, though he doesn't run quite as much following an injury.

"I hurt my foot this time last year and have been struggling with that ever since," Darren said.

Instead of running Darren swims about 2km each week and rides a bike to keep the weight off.

Prior to his injury Darren had lost more than 100kg, dropping from 196kg to 95kg.

Darren will attempt his first 100km race next year when he competes in 2017 Kokoda Challenge at the Gold Coast.

South Burnett

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