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Watch: Heavy as Lead

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Seven years ago, Jason Cohen weighed 300 pounds. Now, after making big changes to the way he eats and moves his body, Jason is 120 pounds lighter and preparing to race his first 100-miler, the Leadville 100. Trail Runner caught up with Jason in the weeks leading up to his race.

  1. You are an inspiring person for a lot of other people. Who inspires you right now?

Right now, on a personal level, my wife inspires me more than anyone else. She is the hardest worker I know and she is also pregnant with our first child. Pregnancy is way harder than any race I will do and I have the utmost respect for her. From a “sport” perspective, I am fortunate to have so many other friends who have lost 20/50/100/200/300lbs and are doing incredible things to turn their health around. One person who comes to mind is Justin Lacy, who in a very short time went from being 500lbs, barely able to walk, to in a few years doing a skydive ultra where he jumped out of a plane and then ran 50k. He is seriously one of the most inspiring guys I know (although it really is hard to pick just one of my friends – I could write a book about the incredible things they have all done).

  1. Why Leadville?

When I started my health/weight loss journey I had heard about Leadville, so it was on my radar. Three years ago I was passing through Leadville on vacation three days before the marathon/heavy half and decided to stick around for the heavy half (15.5 miles). I had never ran a race before and the longest I had run up until that point was 8 miles, which was at sea level in Louisiana. I came down 6th street to the finish line with tears in my eyes realizing the amazing journey I had been on, and realized that at 300lbs I could have never imagined this life that I now had. I came away from that race with so much gratitude and Leadville has really had a piece of my heart ever since.

  1. What advice do you have for people looking to start a similar journey as yours?

Believe in yourself and know that the hard work will be worth it. I had always believed I would be overweight for the rest of my life. I now know that it was a lie I had told myself and I had put limitations on my own potential. I have a life (and body) that I would have never imagined possible previously and I am no different than anyone else. Anyone can do what I have done and there is nothing special about me. The only difference between myself and someone else is our starting date.