During the pandemic, a Quebec man swapped sugar for a pair of running shoes. His newfound passion led him to lose 123 pounds and he will run at Levis on Sunday, his first organized half marathon.
“I worked for a long time in a family pizzeria,” says Pedeja Heleta, 36. At lunch, it was a club sandwich, at dinner, a poutine, and at dinner, another poutine! And when I got home, I wanted some sugar. “
This attraction to fat and sugar, combined with a sedentary lifestyle, resulted in him weighing 295 lbs, as opposed to 1.75 m.
One day in February 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, Mr. Helita was tired of not having the breathing needed to play with his daughter and son, who are now 8 and 2 years old.
So the guy from Vanier decided to quit his television set.
He started walking first because his weight prevented him from running.
“Even if it was snowing, even if it was -30 degrees, I was walking in full swing,” he explains. People wondered what I was doing walking through a storm. But I didn’t want to stop! For me, it was like a commitment. “
60 km per week
Today, Mr. Heleta runs four times a week, 15km. He also gave up sweets and poutine.
The route he’s covered in 19 months prompted him to register for Sunday’s Levi’s Half Marathon, in which 3,000 runners will survey the shores of the St. Lawrence River for 21.1 kilometers.
It will not be his longest distance: in training, Mr. Heleta has already managed to travel 26 km.
“I thought about signing up for a full marathon, but I thought I’d better wait,” laughs Heleta. Maybe next year. “
Until Sunday, Mr. Heleta was pleased with the impact the weight loss had on his health. Before he started running, he had sleep apnea and had to take medications to lower his cholesterol levels.
Everything is behind it, says the man who now works as a truck driver.
“The trick is not to give up on it,” says Helita. People often tell me they don’t have time. But we can always find time. “
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