The traditional gift for a 10th anniversary is something made of tin or aluminum.
A marathon finisher’s medal should be close enough.
In October 2000, Rick Salewske, of Dallas, TX, weighed 538 pounds and had a 66-inch waist. The steering wheel of his car rubbed holes into several pairs of trousers. He couldn’t sit in ordinary chairs, squeeze into stadium seats, or take an airplane trip.
The CEO of the company for which he worked took him aside and offered to help. If Salewske was willing to embark on a weight-loss program, the firm would pay for it. By November 2002, he had shed 300 pounds.
Running his first marathon sounded like a great way to celebrate the 10th anniversary of a new life, so Salewske entered the 2012 ING New York City Marathon and on April 25 was chosen to be among the 47,500 expected to be in the field on November 4.
“Right now, I’m scared,” he told Debbie Fetterman, who writes about running and fitness for the Dallas Morning News, after learning he had been selected to run in New York. “It’s a lot of miles, but I know deep down that I can do it.”
In a monthly series of articles, Fetterman is chronicling his training. She said that she and Salewske had kept in touch since meeting when he ran the Dallas White Rock Half-Marathon in 2006.
“He needed a big goal for turning 50 and celebrating the 10th anniversary of losing the weight,” she said in a telephone interview on Monday. “He’d expressed wanting to do a marathon for a long time.”
Fitting training around the duties of a full-time job and three young children amid the searing summer heat in Texas, Fetterman said, hasn’t been easy for Salewske, but—given that he’s already shown what he can accomplish when he puts his mind to it—she’s confident that he’ll finish the race.
“He’s always been one of those people who’s an inspiration, without a doubt,” she said. “If he can lose 300 pounds, I ought to be able to get to the gym every day.”
Read the first two installments of Salewske’s story here and here.