My name is Christopher Merken. I'm seventeen years old and started running in November of 2012. I weighed 230 pounds and was pretty unhappy with my life. I was sluggish and slow, really out of it. One day I just decided to go running. I had no running experience, I had no running clothes, I had no running shoes. But I wanted to change my life. I decided to run a 5k in April of 2013. I thought that would be plenty of time to train for a run 3.1 miles.
I got bored though. It was the middle of January and snowing and cold but I wanted to race. I found a race in the middle of Pennsylvania scheduled for January 26th. Nervous, I signed up. The day of the race it was four degrees at race time. It had snowed the night before and there was snow and ice all over the course. But the forty runners who made it out were enthusiastic and encouraging. I finished the race and actually placed in my age group.
Since then I've run twenty races this year. I entered the lottery for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run and was accepted as one of the nearly 40,000 runners. It was a ten mile race, and when I finished it I knew I wanted to do my first half marathon. In June I ran the ODDyssey half marathon in Philadelphia. This fall I'll be running the BAA half marathon and the Philadelphia half marathon. I hope to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 2014.
Running has provided me with the discipline and goals I've lacked in my life. I've lost fifty pounds and six inches on my waist since November of 2012. I've become happier in life, and I will continue my running with new goals and new challenges in college at the University of Delaware this fall.
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