Grandma's Marathon: Running away from their pasts
Witness-protection programs could recommend distance running as a hobby for future clients. Duluthian Adam Swor and Noel Arteaga of Burnsville, Minn., recently have picked up the sport and can attest to how drastic changes in their appearance mak...
Witness-protection programs could recommend distance running as a hobby for future clients.
Duluthian Adam Swor and Noel Arteaga of Burnsville, Minn., recently have picked up the sport and can attest to how drastic changes in their appearance make them unrecognizable to friends and co-workers.
Swor, who has lost 70 pounds in over two years, showed an old picture of him and his daughter, Allison, to a colleague. The friend questioned if he was in the photo.
Arteaga, who is 115 pounds lighter than he was two years ago, was hanging out with friends when one asked where he was.
Arteaga said, "I'm right here."
Swor doesn't like hair, so the few inches on his head remind him of his goal -- shedding 2½ inches from his waist.
The 32-year-old, who went from 290 pounds to about 220, wants to return to a shaved head. Running Saturday's 18th Garry Bjorklund Half-Marathon falls in line with his objective.
"I could almost guarantee I will shave my head when I hit my goal," said Swor, a real estate agent. "I miss being bald."
Swor put down the pizza and other unhealthy foods and picked up a multifaceted training approach that includes running, walking, lifting weights and other cardio activities. His motivation was to be healthy when his kids -- 10-year-old Courtney, 5-year-old Allison and 1-year-old Issaac -- grow up.
Swor, who will run Saturday with his wife, Lori, simply wants to finish and enjoy his first half marathon.
"When you got a hot, good-looking wife, and you are a fat slob, it's like, 'Get with it, fat boy,' " Swor joked.
Arteaga ditches fears, weight
Arteaga was afraid of treadmills.
Two years ago, Arteaga was so out of shape that he thought he would fall if he ventured onto a treadmill. He weighed 310 pounds and had high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Doctors said he was close to developing diabetes.
Now at 195 pounds, Arteaga is set to run Saturday in the 32nd Grandma's Marathon, his first 26.2-mile race.
Arteaga, 36, wowed fellow runner Tony Russeth with his transformation at Runner's Gate, a meeting place for runners in Lakeville, Minn.
"'You weighed what? You lost what?'" Russeth remembers saying to Arteaga when they first met. "He really inspired me, too. I kept asking him what clicked in his mind. He said, 'It wasn't easy; one step at a time.' He said he noticed changes in his body, his energy level and how much better he feels."
Russeth called Arteaga a "natural" runner. In the Heart of the City Half Marathon on June 7 in Burnsville, Arteaga finished in 1 hour, 44 minutes.
Arteaga, a caterer, carries a photo to remind him and friends of what he used to look like.
"The only regret I have is that I wish I started sooner," Arteaga said.