A SOLIHULL personal trainer who challenged himself to run 28 races in 2016 in aid of Cancer Research is lacing up his trainers and getting ready to run race number 18.
Just days after completing the grueling Severn Bridge half marathon over the Welsh border, Solihull-born Gary Wickett is preparing for the hills, fells and mud of the Autumn Wolf Run assault course, which is taking place just outside Leamington Spa.
Gary, aged 32, has already completed 17 races and assault courses – including half marathons in Coventry, Birmingham, Silverstone, and shorter races closer to home including the Dorridge and Knowle fun runs.
But Gary has not always been a fitness fanatic.
“Two years ago I was in a job that I had been doing for 12 years, but that I did not enjoy,” Gary told the Observer.
“So I quit, became a personal trainer and caught the running bug.
“I went from being overweight and unable to run up a flight of stairs without gasping for breath, to running these long-distance races.”
Since then, Gary has lost more than two-and-a-half stone and seen drastic improvements in his physical fitness.
Now he wants to push himself to new limits – challenging himself to complete longer and more gruelling runs while inspiring others and raising money for a charity close to his heart.
He said: “After my first half marathon it took me two weeks to recover.
“Now I teach spin classes three times a week, so I treat those as my recovery.
“My girlfriend and I have both lost family members to cancer and it really is something that affects everyone in one way or another, so that’s why I wanted to dedicate all my fundraising efforts this year to one charity – to try raise a total that will make a difference.”
Gary now hopes his efforts will catch the eye of London Marathon organisers, as he attempts to secure his spot in the world-famous race next year.
He added: “I’m running all four Wolf Runs this year in the hopes of getting the ‘Alpha medal’ and will keep pushing myself.
“I want to complete 100 half marathons in the next ten years – that’s the big goal.”
Gary will be running in the Great Birmingham Run, the inaugural Solihull half marathon and the Winter Wolf Run later this year before finishing with the 20k Christmas Cracker run in Moreton Morrell on December 17.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/garywickett-londonmarathon or search ‘Gary Wickett fitness’ on Facebook to keep up to date with Gary’s fundraising efforts and to make a donation.