Super slimmer takes on marathon challenge in honour of dad and uncle

Matt Symons with his dad, who has been diagnosed with vascular dementia

Matt Symons with his dad, who has been diagnosed with vascular dementia - Credit: SUPPLIED

A super slimmer from Norwich, who has shed more than 10 stone, is facing the challenge of his life by embarking on his first marathon. 

Matt Symons, 39, of Nelson Street, has spent the past three years dramatically changing his life. 

Originally weighing more than 23 stone, he has shed the pounds and gone on to complete the Norwich 5k. Now he getting ready to face the Manchester Marathon next month. 

He said: “In October, I will be taking on the biggest challenge of my life. 

Matt Symons, 39, of Norwich, has dramatically changed his life

Matt Symons, 39, of Norwich, has dramatically changed his life - Credit: SUPPLIED

“I’ve changed my life dramatically from being morbidly obese, where I found even walking somewhat difficult without getting extremely out of breath, to now being a lot more active and having a much better level of fitness.  


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“I now want to give back and make a difference, while setting a new goal to achieve in the meantime.” 

Mr Symons is raising money for a cause close to heart - the Alzheimer’s Society. He explained why it was so important to him and his loved ones. 

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"Alzheimer’s is something that has affected my family over the last few years, including recently,” he said. 

“While my dad, who was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia, had been in respite for the last few weeks, we got the heart-breaking news that it isn’t safe enough for him to live at home with us anymore.  

Matt Symons is running the Manchester Marathon next month

Matt Symons is running the Manchester Marathon next month - Credit: SUPPLIED

“So Social Services have had to make arrangements to find him a permanent placement in a residential home. 

“While we knew the day would come, we are so heartbroken that’s it’s happened so soon.  

“It has upset us very much as a family, especially for my mum who, after 49 years of marriage, now has to live separately from him.”  

Mr Symons originally signed up to do the marathon in 2019 in honour of his uncle, who at the time was living with dementia. The event has since been delayed, due to the coronavirus pandemic, but is now scheduled to go ahead in October. 

Unfortunately, during this time, Mr Symons’ uncle died in November 2020 but he has vowed to complete the marathon in his memory instead. 

He added: “It’s so important for me to complete this challenge for my dad and my uncle and to raise as much money as I can and do them proud.” 

Matt Symons has shed more than 10 stone and is running the Manchester Marathon next month

Matt Symons has shed more than 10 stone and is running the Manchester Marathon next month - Credit: SUPPLIED

In 2017, Mr Symons was named Norwich Slimming World’s Man of the Year after losing more than six stone in six months. His achievement saw him go through to the semi-finals of a national competition. 

His health had been suffering following the sudden loss of a close friend in December 2015 and for a year he said he neglected himself, with his unhealthy diet a result of trying to fill the gap his friend of over 30 years had left behind.  

Since then, his mindset as well as his body has been through a dramatic change and he is looking forward to helping other causes in the future. 

"Thank you so much to everyone that has sponsored me so far. 

“Please, if you can, help me to raise as much money as possible to help support those diagnosed with this awful disease.” 

  • To donate to Matt vs the Manchester Marathon visit the Just Giving page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/matthewsymons
  • In the UK, someone develops dementia every three minutes. Alzheimer’s Society is the UK’s leading dementia charity, which campaigns for change, funds research, and aims to find a cure while supporting people living with dementia. To find out more information about the charity visit the website www.alzheimers.org.uk/ or call the dementia connect support line on 0333 150 3456. 

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