Derek Mitchell from Kansas City, Missouri is no average runner. That wouldn’t be hard to spot either. Unlike most of his contemporaries who’ve recently run a local-5k in Missouri, Derek weighs over 500 pounds. His story of triumph against weight gain is founded on a personal challenge to lose “the pounds” when Mr. Mitchell was well over the 600 mark. Derek has an illness that led to weight issues and from there Derek’s inspiring acts while dealing with the results are reaching the hearts of many.
You can watch those inspiring feats, and the joy Mitchell relishes after completing one of the greatest challenges of his life. Derek was diagnosed with having a tumor on his pituitary gland only five years ago. Further diagnosis showed the tumor had been with Derek since his teens and had caused a blockage to the production of testosterone in his body. This condition is the largest factor to Mitchell’s initial weight gain tipping the scales at over 600 pounds.
The year 2015 started in a different way for Derek, and the load of his illness was lifting. He started the year by cutting soda from his diet, and then recorded his journey once he began walking for daily exercise. But this day, today, Mitchell is planning to run one-5K-race monthly and for the rest of his life. He already has three in the making; each is approaching soon. It’s a huge contrast to the Derek we would have seen just five years ago, and he has the smile on his face now to prove it.
Though Mitchell boldly entered and finished a 5K race while weighing over 500 pounds, he ended it in much pain and fatigue. It was a finish but a gruesome one. The race was wearisome on his body, but the challenge he set was met and conquered. Derek is a hero for many today. As he’s stated himself, “If I can walk a 5K anybody can. …And I’m living proof of that now.”
The magical character of this story comes from the simple suggestion of Derek’s older sister who, herself, routinely runs in marathons. It was after her suggestion that Derek decided to finish his first race: a feat not for the faint of heart.
The race run by Derek was not at the pace of his peers, you see. Mitchell walked most of it and rallied toward the end with the help of a bystander. Five hundred plus pounds is a lot to carry for any runner, but as time goes on, Derek will continue his pursuit to lose weight and inspire the world abroad.