Kentucky man loses 100 lbs and runs marathon

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) A Kentucky man who said he lost more than 100 pounds in one year ran his first marathon Saturday in Myrtle Beach.

Lexington native Mark Rucker said he finished the Myrtle Beach Marathon in roughly 6 hours and 17 minutes.

"My wheels came off around 18.5 miles," he explained.  "[My] hips locked up so it was a combo walk/jog from there."

Mark Rucker, once a self-described morbidly obese man, began exercising shortly after the Super Bowl in 2011.

"I don't know exactly how much I weighed," Rucker admits.  "I just know I stopped counting after 365 pounds."

Dealing with a number of health issues, including sleep apnea, high blood pressure and the risk of diabetes, Mark says he decided to lose weight to extend his life.

"I have two kids and an amazing wife of twelve years," Rucker explained.  "But I didn't have any energy to do anything with them."

Mark's wife, Annita, said she worried constantly about Rucker's health.

"Before, I told him life was passing him by," she explained.  "Not anymore though.  He's so active now, he's even getting the kids involved and the kids active, it's awesome."

Rucker says he began slowly, walking on lunch breaks at work, but quickly moved up to jogging, and then began using smart phone applications designed to aid in 5k training.

"I bought an I-phone app called couch to 5k," he explained.  "It was a program that literally told me how to get in shape for the race."

Using similar phone applications, Rucker trained for and finished a 5k, 10k, duathalon and half marathon, all within the last year.

Friends nicknamed Mark "The Beast" because of his determination and how quickly he has been to turn his health around, and he now wears a t-shirt with the nickname printed in bold, white letters on his chest during every race.

After finishing the marathon, Marks says he plans to focus his energy on training for a triathlon.

"I've always wanted to be an iron man tri athlete," Mark said.  "And I've figured out I'm a pretty determined guy in life.  It's just a matter of flipping the switch, and once flip the switch, it's all gung-ho."

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