Tom’s #uniquejourney

From the first visit to his new GP to being the first to receive a 12in12 Medal!

In February 2016 a regular check-up with a new GP set 12in12’er Management Consultant Tom Burgess on a new life course, living proof of the body achieves what the mind believes!

“I was asked to do a medical which included the usual Weight, Height, BMI, Blood and Blood Pressure test. I stepped on the scales and registered 23 stones (146kg), I knew what it would be, but that didn’t stop me feeling demoralised. When the nurse had to look for a larger cuff to wrap around my arm for the blood pressure check it just made matters worse.”
If the embarrassment of Tom’s weight wasn’t bad enough, what followed really hit him hard. “I noticed the nurse take three readings, after each one her face becoming more and more concerned. She then asked if I was experiencing headaches, shortness of breath and dizziness to which I stated that I wasn’t.”

“She then stood up and told me that due to the readings she needed to get immediate medical attention from a doctor. My blood pressure was showing 200/125.”

The body achieves what the mind believes

Mind over matter! 

Medical Intervention

Tom received medication immediately to treat his high blood pressure. He was advised by both the GP and nurse regarding his heightened risk of an imminent Stroke, Heart attack and heart disease. “I kept thinking about my two young girls as they told me and that I wouldn’t see my 40th birthday. I got very emotional and stated that I wanted to make sure I could ‘walk them down the aisle when they were older’.”

The experience was a defining moment for Tom. He shared his news with his wife and his mum. “I went straight to the Anytime Fitness centre that had just opened in town and joined up”.

“I was determined to get myself straight and to no longer damage my body. I went to the gym every night to drill myself into a routine. I started off walking on the treadmill, then increasing the speed a little each time.”

At home Tom’s diet underwent a transformation. The cigarettes were kicked into touch and the processed convenience foods he’d been eating religiously for the past 15 years were cleared out. “I also had an issue with portion size and eating leftovers from the family – my habits had to change along with the food I was eating.”

 Food for fuel

“I trained myself to eat for fuel and calorie counted via a fitness app for five months solidly. In place of the crisps, chocolate bars and fizzy drinks I’d eat fruit, salads and grains. I cut down on the ‘beige’ food and the bread.”

After three months of daily work on the treadmill Tom got to a point where he could run 5km non-stop.

“I liked the fact that I could always try and better the times on the machine but after watching others I signed up for a Half Marathon in Oxford and targeted this as my goal. It spurred me on to harder cardio and weight training every day – I even took my trainers on my holiday to Spain and ran every day before it got too hot.”

“Once I completed the Half Marathon in October 2016 I was hooked! The buzz, the people, the community and the sense of achievement were so inspirational that I signed up to do a Marathon three weeks later. Since then have joined the IG, Instagram, community and have run eight marathons in eight months.”

Tom's medals so far

It’s all about the bling!

Marathons not Snickers

Tom has reduced his weight by over a third and continues with his healthy regime.

“I’ve stuck to a mantra of high nutrition/low calorie and I run nearly every day. I try to do at least three miles a day and always throw in a longer run, particularly every fortnight as I will be running a marathon distance/race every four weeks.”

“I’ll do a 5km run, 5km row and 5km ride circuit at the gym but don’t follow a BPM or anything scientific really…I do what feels right and what I think my body can handle depending on the food I have had or the day I have had.” During the summer months Tom’s even suspended his gym account to motivate him to get the most out of running outside. “Though to be honest I enjoy running outdoors in the winter too, there’s something special about pounding the paths in the freezing fog and rain. It’s something I could never have imagining myself doing barely two years ago.”


Tom achieves’s his 12in12 

In July 12in12 received an email from Tom:

‘Just found you looking through a RunABC guide and am gutted I didn’t find you sooner. I am 8 marathons into my 12 in 12 and wondered if I could still claim (pay for of course) a Tech Tee and be eligible for a medal in november when I complete? I have coupled this journey with a current 7.5stones weight loss, about to be documented in men’s running mag, in the past year so it would mean the world to me to be able to mark it and show my kids.
I look forwards to your response.’

We were & are delighted to welcome Tom on-board 12in12 to share his journey. The first of which he completed in September and is continuing on with. Tom is now the proud owner of a 12in12 medal along with his #uniquejourney shirt detailing all of his amazing achievements. Something he can share with his family.

What running means to Tom

“I’ve discovered other benefits to running as well as the physical ones. I run when I need some headspace, when I have been sat for a large amount of time, when the dog needs to be exercised. I love being part of the Social Media running community. Where we aim to support, encourage and promote the fitness community and support each other through injury, illness and off days. Social media gets a bad rap sometimes, but the online community is awesome and so very supportive.”

“Later this year I’m running the Ragnar Relay 120-mile, the Oxford Half and the Valencia Marathon in November to hit No 12 in 12!” Despite Tom’s prediction earlier this year he reached his 12in12 at the Ragnar Relay. He is now on his way to Valencia Marathon. We look forward to supporting Tom through his next 12in12 journey.

It really does go to show that the body achieves what the mind believes. There is no such thing as ‘can’t’! It is just a word that you put in the way. We’ve no doubt that Tom’s story is inspirational and will help others realise their goals. Thanks for being part of the 12in12 community Tom and supporting each of us in our own #uniquejourney . For a first glimpse of the 12in12 medal we are hoping that Tom will share with us on IG & FB

Tom’s story was first published in Men’s Running Magazine earlier this year, this is the continuation of his journey.