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From 'Fat Kid' to Personal Trainer: Carr Wins the Race to Personal Victory

randy carrKNOXVILLE – Randy Carr has been pursuing health and fitness for years but has never quite been able to get where he wanted to be. Today, he finally feels like he's moving in the right direction.

Carr has been named the 2012 Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon Biggest Winner, outpacing his competitors in overall health achievement and efforts to be an ambassador for health and fitness to the community.

The Covenant Health Biggest Winner Weight Loss Challenge is a friendly competition between members of a selected team who train together for the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. During the five-month program, team members get expert advice on health and fitness from Covenant Health and the Knoxville Track Club.

Covenant Health fitness advocate Missy Kane says it's not about losing weight so much as it's about gaining overall health and well-being. "The Biggest Winner isn't all about weight loss," Kane said. "It's about changing your life and the lives of others."

Carr, a South Knoxville native and West Knoxville resident, has lost about 12 pounds on the program, and his body fat has dropped 3.8%. He also dropped some mental baggage that was holding him back from reaching and keeping fitness goals.

"I was always so self-conscience," Carr said, "and always felt like the fat kid standing on the sidelines on the playground. Too afraid to jump in, and not feeling like I belonged."

All that's changed since Carr jumped into the Covenant Health program. In addition to guidance from a registered dietitian, exercise physiologist, physical therapist and Coach Kane, Carr took full advantage of life coaching sessions and personal training at Fort Sanders Health and Fitness Center. He also became friends with other team members who were on the same journey.

Carr says he's come out of his shell, so much so that he's ready to step forward and use what he's learned to help others. He credits the program with giving him the courage to pursue and obtain certification as a personal trainer. In particular, he looks forward to working with people who are in the same situation he's been in.

Carr says he's been a member of a gym since he was 16 (in 1980), but was always intimidated by the instructors who seemed so physically perfect. He wasn't comfortable asking for help or taking group classes "because I felt so big, awkward and clumsy," Carr said.

"You don't have to be slim and trim to be healthy and fit – that's finally sunk in with me," Carr said. "I look like a 'real person,' so I hope people who are in the same type of situation I was, will be comfortable training with me."

Kane says all team members improved their health, most lost a significant amount of weight, and all say they've gained information from the program they can continue to use long after the marathon.

The team participants included Darla Dunn, Knoxville; Charles Mike Howell, Greenback; Marie Keith, Oak Ridge; Amanda Paletz, Knoxville; Melody Peters, Luttrell; Edee Vaughan, Knoxville; Hugh Wilson, Knoxville; and Arielle Wright, Knoxville.

The team also included media representatives Phil Kaplan, Knoxville News Sentinel; Lee Ann Bowman, WBIR; and WIVICK the Frog, WIVK-FM.

The Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon features a yearly full marathon, half-marathon, four-person marathon relay and 5K, as well as a Kids Run the night before the adult races. Application information for the 2013 marathon team will be posted on in late summer of this year.

Published March 30, 2012

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