One 59 year-old, high-risk class III (morbidly) obese, man.
9.6 million+ metres (that’s 9,614,721)!
One rowing machine.
It’s TOKYROW 2020
Former sports coach PETER METALLI from Newbury is (literally) undertaking the journey of his life!
He will row the distance from his house in Woolton Hill to the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo on a ROWING MACHINE (or “ergo”).
At the start of his challenge weighing in at just under 145 kilograms (just under 23 stones) Peter is classified as Stage 3 obese (formerly known as “Morbidly Obese”) and has steadily been gaining the kilos since he suffered a severe back injury when competing in triathlons in the 1980s. He went on to become Events Director to nearly 400 triathlons, duathlons, half-marathons and other running events as well as coaching thousands of others in swimming, cycling, running, triathlon and rowing but despite being surrounded by “sporty types” for most of his adult life, his weight went up from around 80 kilos in his racing days to where he is today.
“It just sort of happened gradually and as it was only about half a stone a year, I didn’t really think too seriously about it. Of course I was aware I was buying a larger size each time I bought a new pair of jeans but the business of organising sport for others coupled with the ongoing back injury, I just did not have the time to think about it. I’d been told I could not run again and although did occasionally get on a bike, it soon passed me by and then I realised that it has actually been about ten years since I did even that.”
“Two years’ ago I popped on the scales when it just showed ‘Over Load’ and it was like the old joke about the fat man getting on the ‘I-speak-your-weight-machine’ that answers ‘one at a time’ but this was a wake-up call. I started to walk – just one minute on the first day, two on the second and so on until I reached 30 and then started to do that daily”.
“This was actually showing results where I dropped from starting weight of (more than) 160 kilos – over 25 stones – to about 142 in a very short space of time. However one day I was out for one of my walks when I heard someone behind me whistling the Laurel & Hardy theme. I stopped to turn around and take a look and the whistling stopped., So I started walking again and the whistling re-started. This went on for most of my walk until I came home and never went out walking again”
“Rather than be seen outside again, for a while I carried on walking for 30 minutes a day backwards and forwards in our lounge but that soon became tiresome and the weight began to rise again. Until I discovered the rowing machine that had been gathering dust in our garage. Again, I started slowly and had a few set-backs when my back injury (and then my knee) flared up but gradually the weight came back down to where I am today and then I thought, ‘I need a challenge’.”
So this is the challenge that Peter has set himself. Still too large to fit in an actual rowing boat, Peter has decided to row the distance between his house in Woolton Hill and the entrance to the Olympic Stadium in Tokyo.
Starting on Monday 24th July 2017, which is three years to the day before the start of the 2020 Games, Peter will row the 9,614,221 metres on a Concept 2 rowing machine. That is the same as 5974 MILES.
He actually plans to row a further 500 metres on top of the distance “just to make sure” and will need to row just under 8773 metres a day – EVERY DAY – for the next three years, including holidays, birthdays, Christmas. Every SINGLE DAY!
He said “I do have to be realistic about this however and I know I WILL get injured or catch flu/colds etc and will have to take the odd day off here and there so the actual average will probably be more like 11 or 12 kilometres a day but I am determined to do this”.
“Not only do I NEED to do this for my health – this is literally an attempt to save my life. I am 60 next year and already getting aches and pains and I am well aware of the health implications if I DON’T take drastic action, but I also want to prove to myself that I can do this”.
“I would also like this to be an inspiration to others out there who may also have gained a few pounds over the years. If I, as a class 3 morbidly obese man can do this, then so can anyone”. I want people not to be afraid of getting a bit fitter/healthier no matter how far gone or how late in the day that they may think it may be.
Peter will also be using the challenge as a way of raising funds for some good causes, including Addaction, Mind, London Youth Rowing and The Rowing Foundation and will be making some public appearances at various events and venues thorough the next three years.
“The fund-raising is just a small part of it however but if I can do this and my actions can help one other person sort themselves out then it will be worth it and even if people come and watch just so see the fat-bloke get red-faced on a rowing machine, if it adds 50p to the total, I’ll be happy”.