BMW Frankfurt Marathon

This man lost 150 kilos and finished the BMW Frankfurt Marathon

Thomas Stephan 2012

Thomas Stephan 2010

Thomas W. Stephan will go for his third marathon on October 27th / “Only he who wants the impossible, will reach the full potential of his possibilities”

It all began with this one sentence: „You don’t have to lose weight form me.“ Said a woman who is now a good friend. At the time Thomas W. Stephan (44) weighed more than 200 kilos sometimes even up to 230 kilos. His clothing size at the time (8XL) seems grotesquely absurd. That was three years ago. Today he says. „Fat people don’t feel comfortable the way they are.“ So Thomas, who lives in Frankfurt, got off to a new start which brought his weight down by 150 kilos and gave him a new sense of life.

He became more disciplined, at less but still plenty, for the first time with pleasure and only until felt full. “I had no plan, I was not following a special regiment. Perhaps I just felt liberated by what she said to me.” He didn’t count calories, didn’t follow a diet and (at first) did no sports. Something had started in his mind and in his body, something that couldn’t be stopped because he didn’t want to. The result: The pounds started dropping and today only 880 centimeters of scars bear witness to his former life. Those scars are from surgery that removed extra skin after the weight-loss. And in 2012 he finished the BMW Frankfurt Marathon in 4:43.43 hours. “That was the most important event in my life”, he recalls. As a memento he bought a piece of the red carpet from the finish line.

Quite incredible considering he didn’t start running until August 2011. Just the way most novices do it. Run 200 meters, walk 300 meters, run 300 meters, walk 300 meters, run 400 meters, and so on. He managed 6k and was completely gobsmacked. And then Stephan did something that must have seemed very strange. He registered for the BMW Frankfurt Marathon 2011 knowing that with only two months to prepare he  would never make it to the finish line. 

But he had a different plan: cross the Main river twice and drop out of the race. And that’s what he did. “When I stood on that second bridge I cried uncontrollably. It was like even more weight had been lifted from me.” He had reached kilometer 25, he had experienced a lot of solidarity along the road, and he was happy. He had followed his new motto which he had adopted from the German theologian Friedrich Schorlemmer: Only he who wants the impossible, will reach the full potential of his possibilities.” 

Last year he came better prepared for his second attempt to run the BMW Frankfurt Marathon. He had had a few injuries before that were related to his surgeries but against expectations he had quite some energy left even in the final phase of his first marathon. “Everything that comes now won’t have the same meaning as this”, he says. But he certainly will start this year in Frankfurt again for the third time in a row. 

Stephan has found his way, athletically and in his private life. Running enabled him to experience his body in new ways and deal with setbacks. He claims that it is possible to lose weight, even dramatically, with a balanced diet but without gastric weight loss surgery. “You have to eat consciously and knowingly without  a dogma.” Nowadays he prefers to buy local produce from the farmer’s market. “I know twenty different varieties of apples.”


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