Running is a sport that, to be practiced efficiently, requires trained bodies and as little excess weight as possible. Those who practice it steadily-you know well-can first lose weight (if excess) and then maintain good physical fitness.
In short, this whole roundabout way of saying that those who are very overweight generally do not run: it is exhausting and can even be harmful, especially because it strains the musculoskeletal system and especially the cardiovascular system.
Yet there are obviously overweight runners who have been able not only to run but also to complete an entire marathon.
This is the story of Charles Bungert, the man who in 2013 completed the Los Angeles Marathon weighing more than 180 kg.
If you think Charles is a sedentary person you will soon have to think again. Charles has always been passionate about sports, and not just in the sense that he liked to watch them: he has always played several, although even as a child his proportions prevented him from playing with peers, whom he literally towered over. Accustomed early on to playing with boys two to three years older than him, he went on to play soccer, basketball, jujitsu and baseball. In college he played football but unfortunately had to quit because of spinal problems.
In short, we are talking about a man who has always shown boundless passion for sports, especially practiced sports.
Why back in 2012 did Charles decide to try to run a full marathon? Out of love for her mother who has been diagnosed with lung cancer and to raise funds to raise awareness and help research.
A strong motivation that led him as early as 2012 to take to the athletic track at his university, running his first 10 miles. Remember that this was still a trained athlete, though evidently prepared for other sports. At the time he weighs 190 kg. It takes him three and a half hours.
He continues to train, aware that he is a man of tremendous physical strength, albeit in a body not really suited for the marathon. However, medical certificates and tests confirm that his heart wa strong and he was clear to go.
Here he is, on the starting line of the Los Angeles Marathon and Charles runs, runs, runs. He arrived at the finish line, after eight and a half hours. He could aspire to the Guinness Book of World Records but did not record his weight before the start and still did not initiate the process. He will try again, partly because now he has to think of his mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer again.
A year has passed and Charles tries again, this time officially, this time even more so for his mother: he raises money, he gets coaches. He’s running out of time because his mother is given only one year to live.
Then, with two weeks to go, something in his spine gives way-a twinge that prevents him from even slipping on his socks. He then starts to consider withdrawing even if there are still a few days left, maybe he can catch up. Yet the pain is overwhelming and blocks him. However, when he thinks it no longer makes sense to run, he thinks of his mother who is fighting harder than he is and experiencing even more physical pain.
So he decides to try anyway and again, a year later but with added hard-to-manage grief and anxiety about his mother. That, however, will become his strength along the race, especially in the final phase and after many pauses and difficult moments to catch his breath and wonder whether to go on. But the thought of his mother, in the rain at the finish line despite chemotherapy motivates him to do even more soon, not to give up. And he makes it, this time officially, even improving his previous time by a whopping seven minutes.
That day in 2013 Charles proved that he could do it and that being overweight may not always be a reason not to run. And he also demonstrated love for his mother, who unfortunately died after two months.