Runner inspired by puppy power is ready to become a marathon man

An Angus man whose dog helped inspire him to lose nine stone has set his sights on the Edinburgh Marathon. Robert Fleming, 30, from Forfar, shed almost half his body weight and now feels confident enough to tackle the gruelling 26-mile challenge.

“I always dreamed of running a full marathon but I never thought I would be able to do it because of my size,” he said. “Losing weight has helped me gain so much confidence and I took part in my first half-marathon last year to celebrate. “I have been attending a group called Penumbra and their support has helped me to get where I am and I now feel ready to do this.” 

Penumbra is an innovative Scottish mental health charity which provides a wide range of services to offer hope and practical steps towards recovery. Robert suffered with depression after leaving school before starting his weight loss journey in 2012 when he was 20st 3lb. He also experienced heart pains but it was the death of his dog, Max, to old age which encouraged him to try to turn his life around. Within a few months Robert had lost four stone but he suffered a setback and put the weight back on again.

In 2013 he got a new dog and his black labrador, Tiki, was responsible for helping him get his life back on track. He walked Tiki four times a day and the weight started to drop off as he changed his diet, joined the gym and got a new bike. Robert was a full-time carer for his mum but she is now getting more support and he is able to look for a job. He is looking to raise £500 to take part in the marathon which takes place at the end of May. Robert wants to continue to inspire other people who are suffering with their weight to make changes in their lives for the better

He said it is easy for people to fall into the trap but believes it is “just about education and knowing what is good and what is bad”.

The Edinburgh Marathon is Scotland’s most popular marathon and takes place on May 29. He is running for Prostate Cancer UK and his fundraising page is www.justgiving.com/Robertfleming1985.