I recently came across a very inspiring article in Runner’s World magazine about a local runner in our own community and had to reach out to him. Larry Knight is the NB Cook Elementary school principal who lost 55 pounds over a two and half year period. When he first came to the school he weighed 240 pounds. The staff was offering him some welcome gifts, one of which was the school T-shirt. They offered him a size 3XL. Stunned , he realized that he had to make some changes if he was to be around for his three grandchildren. He wanted to be here to show them the world and be a major part of their lives. ” I knew I wanted to be around and healthy for as long as possible to enjoy the milestones in their lives,” he says.
“My wife and I adopted 4 children and we have one biological child. They are all adults now. We have three grandchildren; two are local and one lives in Virginia Beach.
My biggest challenge was simply making my health a priority. I had attempted to lose weight in the past, but there always seemed to be something more pressing that required my attention; work (the normal and extra committees), church duties (Sunday School teacher, deacon duties, etc), family affairs ( I have 5 boys who were very involved with extracurricular activities, being caretaker for my mother and uncle). I also had a hard time saying ‘no’ to things requested of me. None of the things I mentioned were bad things, in fact, I think they’re all awesome things and are just a part of life. ”
Being busy is part of a full and rich life for Larry but he needed to make some changes in 2017 to enjoy it. Also he needed to be an example for his school community so he first began walking with his wife that summer. Everyday and on the weekends they would push really hard. But when school started in November, he had less time to walk.
“That’s when I decided to start running. My thought process was, if I could run for 30 minutes, that would equate to walking for an hour. Running was hard in the Florida heat, but I kept going. I could only run a short distance, like a quarter mile, before I had to walk.
I squeezed in a run any time I could- during lunch breaks, after work—and I slowly worked my way up to running a mile without stopping. I’ll never forget the day I did. It was September 25, 2017. I came home completely winded, turned on the ceiling fan, laid down on the floor and begged my wife to bring me water.”
A 5k turned into a 10k which eventually turned into a marathon. His diet changed with portion control and replacing sugary drinks with water. He did not go crazy, just really small changes on his terms. Subtle changes that did not rock his world. He still managed to keep Whataburger on the menu.
“I wanted to feel better when I ran, and my diet is a reflection of that. Also, I feel so much better now that I’ve lost the weight. It truly made such a positive impact on my life. My energy level is great. My mental clarity is better. My self-confidence has enhanced. As the leader of the school where I impact the lives of children, I believe that it is important for them to see me live a moral life, but also live a healthy lifestyle as an example to them. I still have trouble saying ‘no’ , but my health now always comes before any commitments. I’ve realized that in order to be able to do all the things I do and care for the people I love, I must take care of myself.“
Larry advises anyone starting a similar journey to set measurable goals and find a way to hold yourself accountable. Keep moving forward no matter what and accept NO excuses from yourself. If you falter, shake it off and start again.
Favorite Running Wild products:
Saucony shoes and the Trigger Point Kit to help support my battle with knee pain and plantar fasciitis.
For energy on the long runs, Honey Stinger and GU products. All the staff have been very helpful to help meet my needs.