Following bariatric surgery, exercise is a critical component to successful and sustained weight loss, and we strongly encourage our patients to incorporate regular exercise into their routines. Patient Rachel Hughes not only heeded our advice, she also encouraged staff members and other bariatric patients to join her in achieving a fitness milestone: running and walking the 5K in the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon.

Hughes says that she was always inspired by runners, but at her former weight of 386 pounds, it just wasn’t possible for her. Hughes had gastric bypass surgery in August 2009 and has lost 155 pounds since the procedure.

Completing the 5K was only the beginning for Hughes. Next year, she plans to run either the half-marathon or the full marathon. She also enjoys biking on the greenway with her seven-year-old daughter, Becca.

For our part, we plan to start recruiting earlier and have even more staff members and patients participate in next year’s race. The team concept is a great motivator and support system, and we appreciate Hughes taking the lead in getting this started.

To those who participated in the 5K, I offer my congratulations. Staff members who participated were Dana Bradley, Heather Pierce, and Angie Tillman along with her husband, Anthony Tillman. Patient participants were Rachel Hughes, Anita Rousseau, Lisa Morton and Ashley Boone.

Special kudos also go to patient Kim Chambers who not only completed the full marathon but qualified for the Boston Marathon with her time.