Five years ago Greg Osborn weighed more than 130 kilograms and could hardly walk 50 metres. The 63 year old shadow of his former self has just completed his 34th half marathon in The Age Run Melbourne.
Greg’s brother and father both died at age 60. Greg had been overweight for most of his adult life, but when he turned 58 he knew he had to change.
“I was too fat to run,” Greg explains. So he started by overhauling his diet. Once he got down to 100 kilograms he started doing long walks. “Then I started to run, 50 metres and I’d be knackered. I couldn’t get enough air. I built up to 100 metres, then 150, 200, 250, until eventually I made it 2.5 kilometres around the block,” he says.
And then, just like Forrest Gump, Greg kept on going and has hardly stopped to draw breath since, shedding 50 kilograms and running more than 4,000 kilometres. The Run Melbourne half marathon was the first organised run he took part in – a huge accomplishment in itself – but not one to rest on his laurels, Greg set his sights even higher.
The idea of turning around and going back after I’d done the half filled me with dread. But I was so impressed that people on the Biggest Loser went from people who could hardly walk to people who could do a marathon,
Greg now has four Melbourne marathons under his belt, as well as the Paris, London and New York marathons. This on top of 33 half marathons is enough to make anyone giddy, but not Greg. He’s climbed all 88 floors to the top of the Eureka tower in the Eureka stair climb (three times), and done two Stadium Stomps, each involving climbing more than 7,000 stairs at the MCG.
Greg says, “I’m always setting myself goals, if you don’t set goals you get sick of it. I always had admiration for people who could do marathons, now everyday I feel thankful that I can. I’ve been able to go from being in the bottom o1 or 2% of fitness for my age group to now probably being in the top 1%”.
Concerned friends contacted Greg when they heard of the bombing at the Boston marathon. Although he wasn’t there, he says:
I feel good about being known as the marathon man, instead of the fat man.