The Inquirer is presenting a daily profile of participants in Sunday's Broad Street Run.
Plenty of men want to lose weight. Some even succeed. But not many have the guts to document their progress and let the whole world see.
Meet Andy Aubin, 36, of Hatboro. In November 2011, Andy had become a father. He weighed 328 pounds and was tired of making excuses. So he started running - and blogging about it as a way to hold himself accountable (http://bigandysrunning.wordpress.com).
"Like so many other people who need to lose weight, I'd started and stopped dozens of times," he acknowledged. "I'd do well for a month or so, then I'd get bored or lazy."
But now he had motivation, in the form of online followers and a newborn daughter.
"I knew my wife, my parents . . . they'd read this blog, but if strangers on the Internet were reading this, all the better," Aubin said.
The blog, titled "Running My Ass Off - An Honest Account From a Fat Dad Trying to Get Back Into Shape," is highlighted by a progression of monthly photos, from 328-pound Andy in November 2011 to 198-pound Andy last month.
He struggled at the start. "I am getting sick and damn tired of being on the freaking ground," he wrote after a trying workout Nov. 30, 2011. "The whole point of this is to get healthy. It's frustrating that my body cannot keep up with what my mind wants to do."
But running and blogging started working. "Words cannot express how proud I am right now," wrote Andy on New Year's Eve 2011, celebrating breaking out of the 300s. "There it is. Two hundred and ninety-eight pounds."
By February 2012, three months after he began, Andy was almost 50 pounds lighter, and he stepped to the starting line of his first race, the Cupid's Chase 5K.
He was in a groove now, and the pounds kept coming off.
"So long, 270s!" he wrote in March 2012 after weighing in at 268 pounds.
By August, he was signed up for a 10K.
In November - one year after starting his life-changing plan - Andy Aubin completed the Philadelphia Half-Marathon, 13.1 miles, in two hours, 17 minutes. He started the race at 205 pounds, 123 lighter than a year before.
He has since dropped to 198 pounds, 27 fewer than when he graduated from high school.
At age 18, 225.
At age 36, 198.
He is a new man, and he has a new self-image.
He no longer sees himself as obese or as a man dieting and losing weight.
His Uncle Mario recently said it best, writing on Andy's blog: "Yes, Andy, You are a runner."
"When you're 330 pounds and writing about 10K races and half-marathons," he said, "it doesn't seem real. It's a fantasy world. Running Broad Street will be the conclusion of a journey that seemed impossible."
On Sunday, when he reaches the starting line of the Broad Street Run, sponsored by Independence Blue Cross, Andy Aubin won't be a guy who lost 125 pounds to get there. He'll be just another competitor, blending in with 40,000 others.
And that may be his greatest accomplishment.
How the Boston Marathon affected Andy: "I've read about a movement to have all the runners wear red socks - I went out and ordered a pair for myself. In terms of the impact, it just adds an extra layer of doubt. Race day in Philly or Boston is supposed to be a celebration, and now it has a different overtone."
Contact Robert Senior at firstname.lastname@example.org