Meningitis Now staff member Clara Wiggins

Local runner Adrian to tackle London Marathon for Meningitis Now after incredible weight-loss journey

Clara Wiggins | 18th January 2020

We were delighted when London Marathon runner Adrian Watson chose us as his charity even though he doesn’t have any personal connection to meningitis

London Marathon runner Adrian fundraising for Meningitis Now

With one London Marathon under his belt already, Adrian decided to fundraise for Meningitis Now as it is one of the local charities in his hometown of Stroud. And while Adrian doesn’t have a meningitis experience he still has an amazing story – involving strength and determination of a different sort to those of our supporters living with the impact of the disease.

Adrian’s story started five years ago when he reached a fork in the road of his life. Overweight to the point that it was affecting his relationship with his wife and children as well as his health, he knew he had to do something drastic. So he phoned Slimming World and started down a route that would eventually lead to him not only shedding the pounds but also getting into running in a serious way.

“I began putting on weight noticeably from around the age of 24 years when I left home, but prior to this I had always been on the ‘stout’ side,” Adrian said. “In fact my ‘friends’ went through a phase of calling me 'Guts’.”

He tried many diets over the years but nothing seemed to stick. Until eventually he reached a point where he knew something had to change. “There were many ‘straws’ really, one of which was having to hire a huge suit for a close friend’s wedding because my usual one wouldn’t fit."

“Another was being breathless merely walking up a single flight of stairs. Yet another straw was not being able to play games for very long with my children."

“But the absolute, absolute last straw was something my wife called me during yet another row…” 

As a family website we’ll gloss over exactly what it was that Adrian’s wife called him but it made him pick up the phone and call Slimming World.

So much joy

From when he joined in 2015 until now, Adrian has lost nearly seven stone. But it wasn’t all down to eating less – when he found his weight loss slowing, he started exercising. First, he did the Couch to 5k, then he started competing – 5ks, 10ks, a half marathon… and then last year he did the London Marathon for the first time.

“The London Marathon is an amazing event,” he said. “So many runners. So many spectators. So many charity benefits. So much money raised. So much joy. So much love.

“Just being a small part of something so big is utterly mind blowing and amazing”.

When Adrian finished his run, cheered on by thousands of spectators, there was one thing he was sure of: he wanted to do it again. So he looked for a local charity and settled on Meningitis Now.

“I am so, so grateful to the wonderful people at Meningitis Now who have chosen me to be on their Team Tangerine,” he said. 

“I feel so privileged to be running for the charity. As I approach week seven of my training plan I feel London tugging me towards her, giving impetus to my training runs, inspiring me to go outside and to keep up the training runs despite the cold and the wet towards another one of my greatest achievements."

“Because Adrian, the once gawky fat kid, the butt of many jokes, had achieved something only achievable by the healthiest and fittest among us”.

Strong community

Kirsty Owen-Hayward, Meningitis Now’s Events Fundraising Manager, said the team were always grateful for people who signed up to support the charity even without any meningitis connection. She hoped in Adrian’s case, this was partly because of the good reputation locally.

“We have built a strong community around Stroud where we are based,” she said. 

“Every year hundreds of people in the area take part in our Five Valleys Walk and find out about what we do and who we are." 

“I hope this encourages people to get involved with us one way or another – whether that be helping us with fundraising like Adrian or even just helping us to raise awareness and spread the message about meningitis."

“In the meantime, thank you to Adrian for choosing us as his charity for the London Marathon – I look forward to supporting him in the coming months and to being there at the finish line of the race to welcome him home.”

You can sponsor Adrian through his fundraising page at virginmoneygiving.com/AdrianWatson5. If you feel inspired by Adrian’s story to raise funds for Meningitis Now, please visit our Fundraising Events

In the meantime, Adrian will be holding an Indian food and live music event at Brimscombe on 6 February – visit his Eventbrite page for more information.

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