Warwickshire man who lost 11 stone in 11 months sets sights on the adidas Manchester Marathon
Daniel Morris, a 32-year-old Head of Science at a special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) school based in Nuneaton, has signed up to participate in the adidas Manchester Marathon to mark the next milestone in his remarkable fitness journey.
At his heaviest, Daniel weighed in at 26st 10lbs. Now, he weighs 15st 7lbs, which is the lowest weight he has ever been.
Before he underwent this huge personal transformation, Daniel struggled with fulfilling simple, everyday tasks.
“Obviously, I felt terrible most of the time. I was out of breath walking upstairs, always panicking about visibly sweating when walking into college or school, and even worried if I could fit into classroom seats.
“Then, of course, there was the mental aspect of it. I was often anxious and depressed. Any time I went somewhere new, I noticed people treating me differently – it was almost as if they felt they had to tiptoe around me or avoid me altogether.
“But I’d been a larger person for so long, that I felt it had become an unchangeable part of who I was.”
In his final year at Birmingham University in 2015, Daniel decided it was time to make a change.
“I was due to travel across America after I completed my degree, and this became a huge inspiration for losing weight.
I wanted to feel my best and not hold my friends back, as we had so many exciting things planned. I was worried about everything, from fitting into plane seats, to being out of breath on our planned hikes at the Grand Canyon.
I lost a stone a month during the 11 months of my final year at university, so I reached my target weight before graduation!”
Daniel found that running was a great way to maintain his weight loss in the long-term.
“Over the course of my weight loss journey, I found that setting easily achievable goals really helped me along. I started off with workouts consisting of walks, 15 minutes on the static bike and strength training.
Over time this developed into a full strength routine, and eventually being able to run long distance. In the early days, I slowly built up my distance by running for 30-second intervals at a time. Soon enough, I was addicted.
“I ran my first half marathon in October 2023, and I’ve run more than 2,000km in total last year. With that under my belt, the adidas Manchester Marathon felt like the next step.”
Daniel is looking forward to participating in the event and will be taking part with his wife of five years. Members of his family, including his two children, will be there to cheer him along on the day.
“I honestly can’t wait to take on this celebrated event in the amazing city of Manchester. My wife and I are running together and aiming to finish in under four and a half hours. We decided to sign up for the event because the atmosphere looks great, and the event is welcoming to everyone, which is often not the case with a lot of marathons out there.
“I’m so inspired by people who are participating in massive running challenges – for example Jonny Davies running the entire tube line, or Russ Cook running in South Africa. Who knows, it could be time for an ultramarathon next!”
Reflecting on how far he has come on his weight loss journey, and the changes he has experienced along the way, Daniel said: “I’m a huge sports fan, and now I can play football without fear of being judged by others. It sounds small, but I also love how I’m now able to buy clothes off the hanger, as this was something I could never do before.
I have a much more positive outlook on life. I enjoy taking time to reflect now and again. I’m hugely grateful that my body is now able to take on these massive fitness challenges – it is just the best feeling ever!”
Held on Sunday 14th April, the adidas Manchester Marathon is set to attract over 30,000 participants from around the world.
These participants will be cheered on by over 150,000 supporters on the streets holding up signs, offering words of encouragement, and creating a sense of camaraderie to propel participants towards the finish line.
By participating in the event, Daniel hopes that he will be able to inspire others in a similar situation to make a change.
“It almost sounds too simple, but the best advice I can give is to just put one foot in front of the other. Set smaller and more manageable goals that then feed into a larger goal and most importantly – believe in yourself!
“I was constantly dismissed as one of those stereotypical “just big guys”, so if I can do it, anyone can!”