What started off as an excuse quickly grew into a passion. At 6-2, 307 pounds, David DeNeire of Grimsby, Ont., never thought that he would ever become a runner, let alone a marathoner. But in 2008, DeNeire and some friends signed up for a local 5k road race as an excuse to have fun and get together for a drink afterwards. Soon after, DeNeire and his friends noticed an advertisement for a half-marathon race in Las Vegas and used that as an excuse to travel to Sin City. He became hooked on the energy and passion he got from running and from the crowds cheering him on. Other destination races followed, "for me the whole idea of destination races is an excuse to travel and meet people from all over the world. It is always an experience." In 2011, DeNeire became the first person to compete in all 19 Rock N' Roll events, an international series of marathons.
But 2012 brings a whole new challenge for DeNeire. He intends to run 50 events in 50 weeks, in five different countries, lose 50 pounds, and raise a total of $50,000 for five different charities. To date, he has completed thirty-two races and the weekend of September 22-23 he ran back-to-back marathons. "On the Friday, I flew to Denver, run a full marathon Saturday then flew to Montreal and raced a full. This was my first time racing two marathons, in two days, in two different countries."
As a "Clydesdale" runner, runners who weight 250 pounds or more, DeNaire hopes to inspire other people to simply get out and run. He chronicles his endeavours through social media including a blog. "I started with social media to keep myself accountable and to inspire others. I want to share my experience of running for people that aren't the profile running type. This fuels my fire."
"The biggest challenge for a Clydesdale runner is stepping out the door, not because it's hard to go running. Being someone who has grown up overweight, going out in public and being physically active for others to see is a challenge. I decided to turn that around and use the energy in a different way. I want to show them what it is exactly I can do and I no longer have fear of what people think of me."
DeNeire's, biggest challenge, to this point, has been raising the $50,000. "I know it's a lofty goal and an 'out-there' goal, but that is just part of my personality." He is supporting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the Kids Fit Foundation, and the Crohn's and Colitis Society, all of which he has a close connection.
His efforts and accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. ING selected DeNeire to be part of their 'Class of 2012' profiled runners leading up to this November's ING New York City Marathon. He is honoured for the recognition and is happy that this is allowing him to "bring my message to the masses and think 'look at this guy- he's a marathon maniac- if he can do I can do it."
What will happen next for DeNeire? At this point he isn't too sure. A run across Canada may make it into his plans. "I'd like to start my own foundation, so I am not just doing this for myself, but for a great cause." Whatever the plans, it will involve running- but this time, no excuses are needed.