James Smith says that — with the exception of marching band — he’s always hated anything physical.

But back last summer, he knew it was time for a change. He was the heaviest he had ever been, and he watched as one of his friends made a total transformation.

That was the spark he needed.

“I have always been unhappy with what I look like on the outside,” James said. “I have always liked who I was as a person, but I never thought of myself as having the outside appearance to go with it.”

So he started using the Couch to 5K app and doing Whole 30 to change up his eating, too. It was hard at first, he said, but he soon learned how much of running was a mental game — and he began to push himself.

“The app was amazing and it really helped me learn how to run,” James said. “I found a local 5K that was around the time my program was over. I was able to run my first 5K and I beat the time I wanted.”

That was in October. In December, he ran his first 10K — a Santa Claus race that he said started his Christmas season right.

The Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama Montgomery Half will be his first-ever half marathon.

“When I started running, I could barely run for a minute at a time, but six months later I can now run for more than two hours straight,” James said. “I never dreamed I would be running a half marathon ever, but now I love running.”

And as he’s discovered that new love, he’s also lost 50 pounds.

“My life is forever changed due to running…,” he said. “I cannot wait to run this half marathon. I may not be the fastest runner, but I am still running.”

He said he picked the Montgomery Half because a friend told him it was one of the best half marathons he had ever run. Not only that, it’s affordable, it’s held at a great time of year and the route makes it great, James said. “The location means a lot to me since I am from Elmore County and I still have several friends who live there.”

And the journey to get to this race has been an amazing one, he said. “This all started with me wanting to better myself. No one else could make me want to change. I just got to the point where I knew what I had to do.”

He made a plan, and he stuck with it.

“The more I ran, the more I loved it and what it has done for me, not only physically but mentally,” James said. “I truly look forward to running. It has become such a huge part of who I am. Since I have started this journey, I have never looked back.”

Showing 6 comments
  • Della Galvin

    Congratulations James! Your hard work is paying off in dividends! So proud of you!

  • Leigh Ann Molpus

    Your awesome. So proud of u. They chose the right person this time

  • Louisa Watson

    So proud of you James. It’s not easy to get started and as you said, you had to make up your own mind that you that you wanted to change things. Love your family, esp. Mom and Dad.

  • Sally Brown

    Way to go James! I’m so glad you shared your story. It was a privilege to run with you at the Santa Claus 10K! You are going to rock the Montgomery Half!

    • James Smith

      Are you running the Montgomery half?

  • Carol Rexrode

    Congrats, James. Proud of you and what you have accomplished.

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