His story is well known in weight loss circles. It’s been published numerous times and ran throughout the globe. The Texas Big Star Half Marathon & 5K felt with this race being in his backyard, we should run it here along with other thoughts.

Nicknamed Big Fun in college, Zachary Ahlstedt had always been a big boy, and from a big family…where being overweight was the norm.

After graduating college, getting married, becoming a homeowner and expecting his first child, the Big Fun had to stop. Ahlstedt was carrying 350 pounds on his six-foot-three-inch frame and he had stomach and muscle issues. It took one doctor’s advice to exercise and eat healthier for him to become a Big Star.

Now over 150 pounds lighter, here’s more on Ahlstedt’s run for his life.

Who do you run for?

I run for myself first. Through this journey I have tried to use motivation rooted in things outside of respect for myself, but those things tend to fade over time. Of course I run also because I want to be around to see my children grow into adults, be a grandfather and get to spend as much time with my wife as possible. However, running for yourself is the best way to stay motivated. Run to change your life, run to save your life… that’s why I do it.

What does running do for you?

It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something every time I slip the shoes on and tick away miles. For me, there is not a better way to de-stress, and sort of restart my brain. Running has given me health. Also, the friendships it’s given me through various running clubs, races and events have had the biggest impact on my life.

Why will you run the Texas Big Star in Frisco April 2016?

Running local races supports our local community, not to mention the sense of accomplishment when you finish the race! I always enjoy running local races because I want to grow running at a grassroots level.

Why should others #RunBigStar?

I read once about Emil Zatopek, a famous Czech runner whose road to running was much different than many others. He had the best quote about running a marathon, and I think that most people start with a half, and you could apply this in the same way…..
“If you want to run, run a mile. If you want to experience a different life, run a marathon.”

What has been your greatest running achievement?

The thing I am most proud of is my 50 mile ultra marathon which took me 10 hours 29 minutes to complete. However, the greatest achievement might still be my first marathon. To work so hard to accomplish that goal was a feeling I will never forget. I don’t know if I have felt better about myself than I did that day.

If you could not run, what would you do instead?

Good question. If I could not run (or cycle since I do that too!) I think I would spend most of my time rowing or swimming. I really like the water, and if I ever had more time I would like to try kayaking!

The North Texas Community Giving Foundation (NTCGF) and the Tug McGraw Foundation, will present the Texas Big Star Half Marathon & 5K at Toyota Stadium, 9200 World Cup Way, Frisco, Texas 75034 on April 16, 2016 at 7:30 a.m. This race is the first-ever half marathon & 5K in Frisco, Texas. #WhoIRunFor is a series of stories about race participants and the passion behind their footwork.

Register early for discounted rates. All are welcome to #RunBigStar. Corporate teams are encouraged to register as well.

Learn how to solve a Rubik’s Cube with the easiest method, using only six algorithms.

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