My First 5K in 27 Years, After Losing 100 Pounds.


Tonight, tonight, the strip's just right, I want to blow them all out of their heat.
Summer's here and the time in right, for racing in the streets.

-Bruce Springsteen

I've convinced myself all week that I don't really care about my time in the Midsummer Night's Dream, 5K race in Lexington Kentucky. I've told and over that I just want to finish the race and don't really care what the other runners are doing.

Then I just put on the race shirt. All of that "non competitive" talk goes right out the window.

I want to win this baby. Or lose giving it everything I can.

It's a moment where emotion overcomes logic but that is not a bad place to be. People achieve the impossible when "logical" thinking is ignored. If I go into this acting like I won't win, I will guarantee that I won't.

Thus, I will give it everything I have.

It's a great moment to be headed to the starting gate. Exactly one year ago, I weighed 377 pounds and there was very little chance that I could have walked 5K at any speed. They could have kept the finish line open all week and I still would not have made it.

Not the case this year.

Last August was the start of a journey that led me to weight loss surgery in December and now I weigh about 102 pounds less. I'm in the middle of my weight loss process and writing a book, Brand New Man, that will be out next year. I walk several miles a day so 5K will be a snap. I ran in a 3K earlier in the year and came in second in my age category. This is a longer and much bigger race but the 55 and up crowd had better keep their eyes open for me.

If they had a category based on age and body weight, I would be a cinch.

This is actually the second 5K in my lifetime and the first was the Midsummer's Nights Run in 1989. That was the last year that I weighed under 200 pounds. My teammate in tonight's race is Adam Turner, an excellent runner who is Executive Director of RRP International Publishing and Digital Media. He politely pointed out that he was not born in 1989.

Ok, so it's been awhile. I plan on doing well anyway.

I didn't lose weight to run races or to show off my hot body. I did it to get healthy and live a long life. I wrote a long essay for the Brand New Man book about how exercise should be thought of as something like brushing your teeth, a thing that you automatically do each day.

There is a lot of logic to that mindset but then I put the uniform on.

I played sports as a child, was heavily involved in politics in adulthood and founded and run my own structured settlement business. There is a competitiveness in all of those endeavors that just seems to rise to the surface in me. Even if I know I have little chance of winning. As they say in the lottery commercials, "someone's got to win, it may be me."

I know my odds are better than 171,000,000 to one like it is in the lottery.

I had forgotten about the excitement of "game day" until I wrote a story about my friend Sheila Hiestand, who went from weighing over 300 pounds to competing in Ironman races. Something about her enthusiasm caught on with me.

So here I am. It's a little like a baseball fan going to fantasy camp. I get to act like a big time runner and be in a competitive situation.

It will be fun.

Don McNay, Lexington Kentucky, is a bestselling author and structured settlement consultant. His next book is Brand New Man: My Journey to Health and Happiness After Weight Loss Surgery, which will be published by RRP International Publishing. You can read more about him at

UPDATED: Here is a picture as I cross the finish line. I didn't win but it was a thrill to make it to the goal line. Also thank you to Alex Brecher at for sharing this story with his readers.