A Forfar man will take on his first full marathon next month after losing a staggering nine stone when his dog helped to give him a new lease of life.
Robert Fleming, 30, will take on the Edinburgh Marathon at the end of May, the next step on a fitness journey that he began in 2012.
Robert suffered with depression after leaving school and before starting to lose weight also experienced chest pains but he finally decided things had to change after the death of his dog, Max, of old age.
By Christmas 2013 he had lost four stone but suffered a setback and put the weight back on. At the same time he began to look for an other dog and found Tiki, his black labrador, who he said has helped him to turn his life around. He walked Tiki four times a day and the weight started to drop off as he ate more healthily and joined a gym.
Robert said: “I started off walking round the loch, although I had to stop to take rests as I was out of breath. As time went on I got better and was able to do it without stopping. I suffered from depression too and there were some days I couldn’t be bothered facing the world, but having Tiki meant that I had no option. I was out and about meeting new people and it was like a new life for me.”
Robert also worked with Penumbra, a mental health charity which provides services offering hope and practical steps to recovery. Until recently he was also a full-time carer for his mum but is now receiving support, all of which has enabled him to “find himself again”.
He added: “I must be mad doing it but it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. Losing weight has given me more confidence and I want to say to other people that it’s never too late.”
Robert will run, on May 29, in aid of Prostate Cancer UK and his fund-raising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/Robertfleming1985.