A man who used to be morbidly obese will run more than 600 miles to help feed children in poverty.
Robert Thewlis, from Dalton, has vowed to clock up a distance of 1,000km over the next 12 months.
The 27-year-old is challenging himself in order to raise money for the charity Mary’s Meals which provides lunches for more than 1.2m impoverished schoolchildren in 15 countries.
Less than two years ago Robert weighed more than 20 stones and was suffering from a range of health issues, including asthma and joint problems.
On the brink of diabetes, he decided to make a pact with his disabled mother Susan to lose weight together.
But just days after the pair agreed to change their lives around, tragedy struck when 60-year-old Susan died suddenly from a brain haemorrhage.
Devastated by the loss, Robert vowed to keep the promise they had made and enlisted the help of a personal trainer to help him lose weight.
In seven months he has shed seven stones and is set to use his new-found fitness to help make a difference to the lives of impoverished children around the world.
Robert, who works in the Lockwood headquarters of dining club tastecard, learned about Mary’s Meals through his employer, which has an on-going partnership with the UK-based charity.
He said: “The idea of running would have terrified me when I was overweight and I could never have imagined that one day I would be undertaking such a challenge.
“However, running has helped me a lot, both physically and mentally, so I thought I might as well take it to the extreme.
“I’m glad I have been able to turn something that was as disastrous as the death of my mum into something positive.”
Robert’s first running event was a charity 5k fun run in memory of his mother and he has since participated in a number of 10k runs and a half marathon.
A good chunk of the 1,000km will be covered by his training for the Liverpool Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon on May 20.
To donate to Robert’s fundraising efforts, visit www.marysmeals.org.uk/fundraising/project/rob-thewlis/rob-runs-a-marathon