Steps from the finish line at the GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon on Nov. 15, Kris Wright was handed the black, 60-inch waist pants he wore two and a half years ago. He weighed more than 330 pounds then.
“I got bigger than that,” says the 5-foot-6-inch Wright, “But I didn’t want to see that scale anymore.”
Wright used to drive on long-distance trips rather than fly because he hated the stares he would receive on airplanes and inconveniencing anyone sitting next to him. On the street, people would shout, “Hey, fatty!” And when he was still obese and started running, somebody once yelled, “You run like an elephant!”
That was then. Wright, 38, now weighs 166 pounds and was all smiles at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas event this past weekend, finishing his third marathon in 4 hours, 25 minutes and 40 seconds.
“Holding the pants at full width, I thought about how far I’ve come,” says Wright, an accountant living in Oklahoma City. “To think where I’ve come, it’s amazing.”
Wright’s epiphany about losing weight and changing his life came Feb. 3, 2013 when he was talking with coworkers about when he was younger and enjoyed hiking.
“As I was talking to him [his coworker], something clicked in my head,” Wright recalls. “I was making excuses. I had plenty of time [to work out]. I had no reason not to.”
He told a coworker he was heading to the gym the next day. The friend promised to text Wright the next morning, holding him accountable. When Wright received the text, he was already at the gym. To this day, he still has the text saved on his phone.
Wright committed going to the gym twice a week. A month later he added a third day. A month after that he changed his diet. “I switched from a very healthy diet of pizza, donuts and cheeseburgers every day to eating a lot more vegetables and grilled chicken,” he jokes.
Being heckled about his weight when he first started running didn’t bother Wright because he had already made a mental transformation.
“I no longer felt like the person they were shouting at,” he says. “I thought of myself as the person I would become.”
A year after resolving to turn his life around, he weighed 200 pounds. In October 2014, 20 months after weighing at least 330 pounds, he ran his first marathon. He ran another in April of this year, clocking a 4:04 PR.
Next on his 2016 racing calendar: his second 50K ultra, a 50-miler and another marathon.
“It’s a good escape. I get kind of lost with my thoughts,” says Wright of running’s lure. “I feel like I solve all the world’s problems when I’m running. Of course, when I’m finished, I forget everything I solved.”
The GEICO Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon was Wright’s first Sin City run, and he thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
“It was fantastic, it was awesome, ” he says. “Just running down The Strip (at night), all the lights, all the buildings, all the people, all the bands, it was unlike any other race I’ve ever done.”