We’ve featured them all; Kipsang, Mutai, Kiprotich and Gebrselassi, but here’s a marathon name you might not have come across yet: Steve Way. SPIKES get an exclusive extract of UK magazine Forever Sports’ story about the man who went from marathon eater to marathon runner, and who is now representing England in the Commonwealth Games.
While all the names listed above have been training to become world-class runners for most of their lives, Way was particularly good at something else – eating and doing nothing.
In September 2007, 33-year-old Steve Way weighed 16 and a half stone, had a 38-inch waist, and existed on a diet of takeaways, junk food and 20 cigarettes a day, while slumped on his sofa.
In July 2014, 40-year-old Steve Way weighs 10 and a half stone, has a 28-inch waist and is representing England in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games on a diet of 140 miles of running per week.
He used to smoke 20 cigarettes a day, now he's running 140 miles a week
Never an ambitious athlete, it was seven years ago that Way reached the low point. Not only was he threatening to bust the scales, his smoking was also affecting his health. “It got to the point where I wasn’t sleeping very well, coughing, waking up in the middle of the night,” he remembers.
“I needed to do something about it. That combined with the fact that I was at my heaviest – I’d get up in the morning and look at myself in the mirror and not be particularly impressed with what I was seeing.”
“I recorded every single mile I ran,” says Way. “Give me a date and I can tell you how far I ran, what I was feeling like and what I had for breakfast.”
In training for the 2008 London Marathon, Way ran the Bath half marathon, hoping to clock a time of around 80 minutes. Instead, he ran 72 minutes, crossing the line with the female winner. “I remember Sarah, my wife, being really shocked. ‘Hang on,’ she said, ‘You’ve just finished with that leading Kenyan lady and you came 30th out of 10,000!’”
Way to go! He came 101st in his first London Marathon in 2:35
Only four weeks later Way finished 101st in the London Marathon with a time just over two and a half hours.
Fast forward six years, and Way is the third fastest Brit this year behind no one less than Mo Farah and Chris Thompson, and more importantly, with a Commonwealth qualifying standard in the bag.
“I hadn’t read the Games selection criteria so I was unaware of the significance of being the third Brit behind Mo and Chris. But what it meant was, that as long as they didn’t want to do the marathon, the slot was mine.
“On the Monday, I was frantically reading and re-reading selection criteria thinking, ‘Does this mean what I think it means?’ It definitely said that I could be going to the Commonwealth Games and that’s when it started to hit home.”
Read the full interview in the August issue of Forever Sports, out now.