Steve Way: From 16st couch potato to Commonwealth Games marathon runner

Bank worker from Poole sets a new personal best for the distance of 2hr 15m 16s – beating the 35-year-old record for runners aged 40 and over

Chief reporter

At the age of 33, Steve Way could have been forgiven for thinking elite sport lay beyond his capacities. He was puffing 20 cigarettes a day, fond of a drink, weighed 16½ stone and could not sleep because of his smoker’s cough.

Yet on Sunday, some seven years and many, many miles of training later, he sprinted across the finishing line in the Commonwealth Games men’s marathon in 10th position as the top finisher for the England team.

In so doing, the bank worker from Poole, Dorset, set a new personal best for the distance of 2hr 15m 16s – beating the 35-year-old record for runners aged 40 and over set in 1979 by Ron Hill.

The race, which Way at one point was leading ahead of some of the world’s leading athletes, was the culmination of a remarkable transformation for the self-confessed former “couch potato” with high blood pressure and weakness for kebabs.

Speaking after he crossed the finishing line in Glasgow, with his wife Sarah watching, he said: “All my goals were top 10, personal best, British vet record and I’ve managed all three. I could not have hoped for a better day. I’ve always said my wedding day was the best day of my life but this equals it and I think Sarah won’t mind me saying it.”

The 40-year-old had had an inkling that somewhere within his then less than Olympian frame a decent runner was waiting to get out when he secured a place in the 2006 London Marathon, spent just three weeks training and finished in a time of slightly more than three hours.

But it was not until a year later, with his weight ballooning and his sleep disturbed by a hacking cough, that he decided to put his bad habits behind him. He said: “It was just a realisation that things were only going to get worse if I did not do something about it. It turned out I ended up doing quite a lot about it.”

The computer expert qualified for the Commonwealth Games by finishing this year’s London marathon as the third highest-placed Englishman behind Mo Farah and Chris Thompson.

Old habits, however, do not completely disappear. Asked how he would celebrate, Way said: “I do need to go and have a drink though. And I’m not talking water. I am going to have a pint. I have not had a pint for three months. There will be a couple. I may be around Glasgow.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones