1. ITV Report

Wearside bus driver loses over 7 stone to run the London Marathon

Graeme before and after - he's now taken up running and is 7 stone lighter Credit: Family photo

A Wearside slimmer who lost over seven stone and recovered from breaking his hip only one year ago is taking on the Virgin Money London Marathon.

Graeme Wharton, 47, joined the Sunderland Slimming World group with his wife Lisa in January 2013.

Together the pair lost over 13 stone between them.

Just five years later Lisa is running her own slimming group, while Graeme is taking on the London marathon for the second time.

He will be representing Slimming World when he runs the 26.2mile course as part of their national team of 10 slimmers from across the UK and Ireland.

Together the Slimming World team have lost more than 85st and will be taking on the famous run to raise money for Cancer Research UK and the Irish Cancer Society, and to increase awareness of how keeping a healthy weight reduces the risk of developing cancer.

Bus driver Graeme, who works for Go Northeast and found a passion for running after losing weight, broke his hip last March when he slipped on a wet floor.

“It’s a blessing to be able to run the marathon after where I was just a year ago – at that point I worried I would never run again. Slimming World taught me you can do anything you put your mind to, though, and before I knew it, in time, I was running again, getting further and further each time. Running a marathon again after what I went through is a dream come true.”

When Graeme first joined Slimming World swapped his diet of shop-bought sandwiches, pizza and chips for cooking healthy, wholesome meals from scratch including his favourite dish of homemade chilli con carne with rice and vegetables.

Graeme is now fitter than ever and loving his running Credit: Family photo

“There’s no way I’d have lost 7st or be running the marathon after breaking my hip without the support of my group. They are the ones who have kept me on track each week – both with my weight loss and with my running milestones. I can’t believe I’m running the marathon after where I was before losing weight. I’m so much happier and healthier and by losing weight I know I’ve reduced my chances of developing a range of health problems. I can’t wait for the atmosphere on race day and to cross that finish line. Achieving this dream would never have been possible before losing weight. I‘m excited to give something back."

– Graeme Wharton
Graeme and Lisa Wharton have lost over 13 stone between them Credit: Family photo

Graeme’s wife Lisa Wharton, who is now a Slimming World Consultant herself, runs the Ryhope group that Graeme now attends.

“Graeme is a real inspiration to me, our group and our family! We are all so proud of him."

– Lisa Wharton, Graeme's wife