A Dublin man plans to run the Dublin City Marathon after losing 280 pounds in the past year. A year ago he weighed more than 490 pounds and now is training for the Marathon on Monday, October 29.

During his teenage years, Eric Russell was a tall and naturally broad promising rugby player. After the death of his grandmother and marital problems between his parents, Russell lost interest in sports and had spells of depression. He began to comfort eat. After he completed school, his career as a plumber was successful for a couple of years. When the business fell on hard times he began to drink heavily and binge eat and he became reclusive and depressed.

He told the Irish Independent, “Last Christmas I got very depressed and two days before New Year’s I decided I was going to commit suicide. I had the rope around my neck when I said to myself ‘Either kill yourself now or do something about this.’ So I took the rope off and decided to change.”

He started slowly by walking and giving up alcohol just before St. Patrick’s Day. He said, “When I raised my glass and said this is my last pint, the people round me in the pub laughed.”

Russell is still alcohol free eight months since his decision. With encouragement from his brother, he then joined a gym and started training. In June he decided to run the DublinCity Marathon and has been working with personal trainer Kane Kearns in RAW gym to prepare for it. Russell has also combated his depression; he is taking a six week course with Aware and has a strong Christian faith.

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“I started to believe in myself. I kept track of what I ate and began to lose more weight. I began to get compliments about how I looked.”

Russell is running in the Dublin City Marathon to support the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, an organization which provides information, support, and counselling for men and women whose lives have been affected by sexual violence. Last year the organization helped 12,000 people. He has raised 170 euros towards his target of 1,000 euros.

Russell plans to keep making changes after the Dublin Marathon. Next summer he hopes to participate in the 2,000km Camino de Santiago Walk through France and Spain. He hopes to reach his target weight of 252 pounds. He says, “After conquering my demons I feel like this is my time to shine.”

To support Eric Russell’s fundraising for the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre, click here.

You can also follow Eric Russell’s Weight Loss Journey on Facebook by clicking here.