A DAD-OF-TWO who lost 10 stone in less than 18 months will complete a remarkable journey when he crosses the finish line at the ABP Newport Wales Marathon.

Gareth Yeoman, 31, of Newport, used to weigh 29 stone, and struggled to climb the stairs.

But now Mr Yeoman is setting his sights on completing the Newport marathon along with 6,000 other runners, exactly a year after he managed his first 5km Parkrun.

The 26 mile distance may be intimidating, but Mr Yeoman said he is relishing the opportunity to show just how far he has come on since signing up to Slimming World with his partner, Shelley in September 2016.

“All my life I’ve been heavy, I was always the prop in rugby or goalkeeper when I played football,” he said.

“But it wasn’t until my 20s I got lazy, there is no sob story here.

“When I saw my wife had lost four stone in 10 months since joining Slimming World, I had to join. "I thought I would be around 22 stone when I weighed in, but it came up as almost 30 stone and that was the thing that started it all.

“I never thought I would get into running because I was too big, but I loved climbing mountains and I started running back down and I really enjoyed it.”

His hunger for running helped him summon the courage to get down to his local Parkrun.

The 5km course took Mr Yeoman 47 minutes to navigate, but even when he slashed his best time to 35 minutes, then 27 minutes, he said a marathon was never on his mind.

“I remember my first Parkrun was on April 29, 2017, so it will be exactly 365 days by the time the marathon comes around,” he added.

“A marathon was never on my radar, but I’ve built up from 5K to 10K to half marathon distance. I’m aiming to complete it in about four to five hours and what better place to do it that in my home town just around the corner from my house.

“It’s not just me though, my whole family will be getting involved by doing the family mile, so my two daughters will get a taste what should be an amazing day.”

Mr Yeoman said he hopes his story can inspire other men to begin talking about their struggles with their self-image.

“If my story can inspire others then that’s great, I would love to one day set up a group for men in their 20s and 30s to sit down and talk about their issues with weight,” he said.

“Blokes struggle to talk about these kind of things, we just bottle it up. I want to get a community of blokes who can all help each other get more active and show that it is possible to change your lifestyle.”

The Newport Marathon takes place on Sunday April 29.