He looked in a mirror and was shocked by the overweight, ageing figure that looked back.
So Gordon Booth decided to do something about it, at the age of 54.
He took up running. And 30 years on, he’s still running.
It may not be competitive any more but Gordon likes nothing better than running through the lanes and fields around his Almondbury home.
And he admits: “It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.
“I think running is something anyone can do, no matter what age, condition or gender, and you get so much out of it.”
It was on April 9, 1986, that the former Kossett Carpets worker, who was brought up in Brighouse, decided he had to do something.
He had been a keen walker and climber in his younger days but admits things had slipped.
“I was grossly overweight, eating stuff out of the frying pan, and I didn’t like the overweight, out of shape guy staring at me from the mirror.
“Sneaking past the neighbours I set out on my first-ever run, a short 2 ½ miles around Castle Hill. It changed my life.
“I found I enjoyed it but i was also rather good.”
That’s a bit of an understatement. In the years that followed he entered five Pennine Marathons, winning his age group, and also two London Marathons, finishing one in 2hrs 53mins 04 secs.
“After taking up running I joined Longwood Harriers and did fell races.
“I topped the British rankings in the Men’s O/75 category over 800m, 5K, 10K and 10 miles in 2007, and feature in the all time World rankings over 800m (MV75), 1500m (MV75) and marathon (MV60).
“I’m still running, into my 80s, in the belief that running, more than anything else, keeps me young in body, mind and spirit.
“Someone said ‘You don’t stop running because you get old, you get old because you stop running’. Nevertheless, the older I get, the better I used to be!”
Gordon, the father of two sons, has a long-time partner Sheila.
He loves to combine running with photography and captures many parts of Huddersfield at its finest, often on his dawn runs.
“I can’t imagine a life without running, he said.