“I find running for me very meditative. I used to get up at the sunrise," Ed Maar says.
That was almost 5 years ago. And Ed Maar has been running ever since. He built his stamina up to run the New York City Marathon last year for the first time, finishing in 4 hours and 15 minutes. And this year, he’s doing it again.
"Going across that finish line, I remember feeling intense pride in all that I've done. And the need to come back this year and tell that part of the story," Maar said.
Maar wasn’t always this in shape. In fact, he was overweight most of his life -- topping out at about 430 pounds.
"In the sense of huge, I was the largest person in any room I walked in usually by far," he said.
But it all changed in 2012, when his father, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, started to decline.
Maar says his dad was a veteran who served in the marine’s.
He kept his strength and ruggedness until the Alzheimer’s started chipping away.
"This disease doesn’t care. It strips from you little by little and that took that from him – and I was shocked," Maar said.
It was his wake up call to do something about his own weight and personal health.
His doctors talked about surgery or:
"Or you can just try. You can just try and keep a food diary. When I started this, I was over 400 pounds and then 13 months later, I lost well over 200," he said.
As he shed the pounds, the father he always knew was fading away. His father died this past July.
Now, Maar’s new mission is to run in his honor and raise awareness of the disease that took him.
"I just wanted to give back to this disease that took and still takes. The heavy heart that weighs on me, I don’t know how that’s gonna play out yet," Maar said.
"What would your father say?" Mr. G asked.
"I think he would say you did it, and I’m proud," Maar said.
"You know you’re in trouble at mile 18 when you’re running as fast as you can and someone walks by you and asks, 'Can you do better than this?'"