In 2009, Michelle Kempton was nominated by a fellow runner for the national iRun award. Michelle was interviewed, her contributions to the running community were evaluated, she was honoured by iRun Magazine, and the judges declared her a winner for not only improving her own life through running, but she had proven to inspire, motivate and empower people across Canada about the benefits of running for weight-loss.
Michelle Kempton says "iRun because I'm an adrenaline junkie!"
When Michelle Kempton went for her first run just one year ago, she truly believed she was going to die!
"At the 30-second mark, I felt like I was tasting blood," recalls Kempton. "I maybe made 100 feet - it was intense."
The 34 year old, Kempton - who has struggled with weight issues all her life - once tipped the scales at 285lbs. Although she had tried "everything" to lose weight, it took nearly losing her father - who suffered a major heart attack - to move her to take control of her health.
"For so many years, I used the excuse that people could drop dead while running," says Kempton, who is dedicated wife and mother of five-year-old twins. "Then I realized that if I didn't start running, I would probably die - I could develop diabetes or have a heart attack."
Working with a trainer, Kempton gradually introduced running into her new workout regime, which also included fitness bootcamp and hot yoga.
"The cardio element of running was really the key for me," says Kempton, who was 250lbs when she began running. "That’s when the pounds just started to fly off."
Kempton lost a total of 120lbs, 85 of which she attributes directly to running.
More importantly, she lost the inhibition that had plagued her for so long.
"I used to walk around with my head down - I would hope that nobody would notice me because I was embarrassed about how I looked."
Over the course of 10 months, Kempton built her running endurance up to the 10K mark. Today, the healthy and fit 165lb, Kempton runs 5K almost daily. She plans to lose a few more pounds and wants to start racing, with the eventual goal of a half-marathon.
Most importantly, Kempton credits running as the catalyst for a major psychological change in her self-esteem and approach to life. In fact, she is using her newfound fitness as a springboard for a new career.
"I went from obese web designer to athletic business owner in two years," enthuses Kempton. As a designer, I was creating beauty but the clients never met me - I could hide behind the beautiful website. Now I want to be in front of clients, sharing with people what I've accomplished."
Kempton will help clients in the areas of running, weight-loss and nutrition, and will hold speaking engagements to share her own story. She feels her perspective will be valuable since she can sympathize with just how difficult it is for an overweight person to start running.
"When you have a skinny person tell you 'Just do it' and they don’t' understand how much it hurts, it's really hard," says Kempton. "I get a lot of exhilaration from helping people to start running. That will be my focus."