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by Michelle Carnegie
01 February 2018

They’ve lost a staggering 110kg of weight between the two of them…and it all started with parkrun.
When 53-year-old Anita Roux turned 50, she was tired…tired of carrying excess weight, tired of constantly drinking handfuls of tablets, and tired of suffering from high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure. Her 55-year-old husband Henri was in a similar position, overweight and unhealthy. In short, the couple was tired of always being tired! And so their amazing weight loss – and parkrun - journey started.
Fast-forward four years and the couple are barely recognizable. “We now go to shopping centers, we buy new clothes straight off the shelf at any shop of our choice, and we move all day, opposed to those days when we were just laying in front of the TV. Now we run a couple of times a week and walk whenever we can,” says Anita.
Those early days
Anita admits that no exercise, the wrong food choices and bad eating habits contributed to their weight and health problems. Henri played rugby till his late 20’s, but after that he did no exercise. The last time Anita exercised was at school where she played netball. “We both started picking up weight in our early 30’s. What can I say? I suffered from high cholesterol and blood pressure as well as diabetes while Henri battled with high blood pressure.”

Turning point
The turning point came when Anita turned 50. “We both felt very unhealthy and did not have any energy. I was tired of always drinking tablets. Together we decided things had to change. We’ve always planned an early retirement and we wanted to enjoy life and our retirement,” says Anita.
“My sister Kim told us about parkrun and one Saturday she dragged us along. Before we knew it we were hooked!” The couple started changing their eating habits drastically. Though Anita saw a dietician briefly to gather some guidelines as to what would help with weight loss, the couple tackled their weight loss journey all by themselves. “That first meal on 17 March 2014 consisted of steamed chicken and vegetables. We would have never continued if that were the way forward. Then we discovered some great, tasty and healthy recipes online.” And so their weight started to drop.
parkrun magic
They describe their first parkrun as very tough. “We basically walked the whole route and it took as about an hour. We were so tired. And so unfit!
But those days are over. Henri’s parkrun PB currently stands at 27:12 and Anita’s around 32 minutes. “Every week we try and improve and every week we can feel we are getting stronger and faster. Come rain or shine we don’t miss a parkrun. We are addicted. We even joined in on the Christmas and New Year’s Day parkruns. In fact, all our holidays and weekends away are planned around the nearest parkrun! We actually feel terrible when it is parkrun day and we are not there. We also volunteer quite a bit at the Ebotse parkrun in Benoni.”
Henri currently runs 10km twice a week as well as his weekly parkrun while Anita runs 5km twice a week and tops it up with a parkrun. The couple has started participating in some Nite Races as well as Colour Runs.
One of the nicest things about parkrun is that other members of their family also participate. “The competition within the family is awesome. Everyone tries to do better than the next.”

How life has changed
Henri has lost a total of 70kg and has kept his weight off for the last three years. On top of that he is healthier than ever before and has no need for any medication. Anita has lost a whopping 40kg. Her diabetes is something of the past and apart from one hormone tablet a day, she has no need for the handful of tablets from the past.
These days they continuously make sure they eat healthy, and one of their secrets to sustained weight loss is to prepare all their food in advance. “When we are hungry the food is ready, otherwise it is just too easy to make the wrong choices and to just grab anything or a take away.”
The couple both realise they now have a new leash on life and shudder to think what would have happened if it wasn’t for that first parkrun…and the day they decided enough is enough.

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