From overweight smoker to endurance king

Steve Way will be among the elite runners for the Great South Run, despite being a former 20-a-day smoker
Steve Way will be among the elite runners for the Great South Run, despite being a former 20-a-day smoker
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SEVEN years ago he was a 16.5 stone 20-a-day smoker who liked a drink.

Tomorrow, Steve Way will tackle the Bupa Great South Run as he gears up for the IAU 100k World Championships in Qatar.

That’s after a sensational emergence which saw him finish 15th at the London Marathon this year.

The 40-year-old then followed that with a 10th-placed effort at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

Yes, things have changed a fair bit for the Bournemouth man of late.

Way will tackle 10 miles of roads around Portsmouth and Southsea at the end of a week which has seen him top 100 miles in training.

The former IT worker puts his total training distance now in excess of a mind-boggling 27,000 miles.

Way said: ‘Seven years ago, at the age of 33, I didn’t look like the man I do now.

‘I was six stone heavier and a heavy smoker.

‘The concept of being where I am now was a pipedream.

‘I took running seriously at the end of 2003 and here we are 27,000 training miles later.

‘This year has been a real step up, with qualifying for the Commonwealth Games and the London Marathon.

‘I broke the British 100k record at the UK 100km Championships and finished it off with a British vets’ record at the Commonwealth Games and a massive PB for me.

‘I couldn’t have imagined having such a good year.

‘Training has gone well, but I’ve almost tapered a bit.

‘Last week I was up at 140 miles, this week was 100.

‘My plan for the World 100k Championship was to run 50 miles on Wednesday.

‘I only managed 35 miles, a stroll in the park, because of a stomach problem, so I should be fresh for Sunday!

‘Hopefully, I’m ready for a quick 10 miles.’

Way isn’t expecting to feature in the shake-up for honours in tomorrow’s race.

He will be focusing on getting into the right shape for November 22 – when he tackles the 100km distance in Doha.

The prospect of doing that in the heat and humidity he will face is a daunting one, even for someone of Way’s calibre.

And that is set to lead to some unusual preparations for the event.

‘I have to run 62 miles – and do it in Qatar,’ Way smiled.

‘I have a few smaller races before and some Hampshire cross-country races.

‘I’ll be doing some treadmill with three or four layers of winter clothes!

‘That will be a vague attempt at getting my body ready for the humidity of Doha.

‘I’ll be doing that four or five times with people wondering what’s going on!’

Tomorrow’s race will provide Way with his first proper involvement in the Bupa Great South Run – after previous aborted efforts.

He added: ‘This is my first year running it.

‘I’ve tried a couple of times, but not managed it because of injury.

‘It will be like a home race, being from Bournemouth.

‘One year I got to the elite hotel and then had to pull out on the Saturday.

‘I’m aware of the massive crowds and the support you get, so it will be great to run it.’