A 28-stone runner who splashed up to £700 a month on takeaways says hateful messages from ‘trolls jealous over him sharing his running success’ has helped motivate him to lose seven stone. Jaime Walker, 39, has been running up to four times a week since January and documents his progress online to his supportive followers – sharing snaps of himself in running gear and his achievements.
However, some haven’t taken kindly to his newfound passion and have bombarded Jaime with nasty messages accusing him of boasting about his success, calling him ‘fat’ and even ordering him to ‘run off a bridge’. The recruitment company director claims that cruel comments aren’t just restricted to social media and that people regularly hurl insults at him in the street while out on a morning run.
Jaime, who is also chairman of an athletics club, says that the online hate is rooted in jealousy as trolls don’t like to see a ‘confident’ person be successful. Enthusiastic runner Jaime claims that the hate comments help him get up in the morning, as he often replies to trolls by telling them ‘comments like this keep me motivated’.
While weighing in at 28 stone at his heaviest, Jaime had already began losing weight last year before shedding another four and half stone since taking up running in January.
Jaime, from Derby, Derbyshire, said: “I’ve had these troll comments for a number of years now. My social media is open, I’m quite an active person, I’m quite successful in my career, I sometimes get accused of bragging or showing off.
“‘Nobody wants to see you running’, ‘nobody wants to see a fat person running’, I get it all the time. To me, it’s water off a duck’s back. To be fair, I’m quite glad it comes to me because I’m quite thick skinned about it.
“If that abuse went to somebody who’s not thick skinned, it could really affect them. I thought some of these comments were a joke at first. I’ve had it all my life because I’ve always been a bigger person.
“I’ve always been a confident person, the leader of the group, quite an outgoing person. It’s sometimes not seen as a good thing to be confident, I guess a little bit of jealousy creeps in.
“I’ve always had a good career, I’ve always had quite a bit of money. No matter what I’ve done, whether it’s been my athletics club or the athletes I’ve coached, I’ve been successful. Sometimes, people just don’t like successful people. I don’t know what it is, but for me, I love to see people do well.
“I do post quite a lot on Instagram and Facebook. I’ll go to reply to some of these random messages and comments, and their accounts will be removed or I get blocked. It’s like they’re trying to get a reaction, to try and make me feel crap about myself. And to me, it has the opposite effect.”
The abuse even passes from social media into real-life as 6ft 4 Jaime claims to be heckled on a weekly basis as he does his runs.
Jaime said: “At first, I was running so early because I didn’t want people to see me running. I had a bit of a complex, I didn’t like people watching me run. I do it everywhere now – on parks, on public roads, everywhere. I’ve got my confidence.
“It probably happens once a week where somebody winds their car window down and yells out a ‘fat’ comment. I just laugh it off now. It just makes me want to keep going. When I get up at 4am and my joints are aching, I think of those comments and think ‘get out there’.
“Every single time when I get up at the weekend and I want to lie in, I think of those comments and think ‘get out there. Keep going’. People who try to put me down and belittle me, they’re the people who are making me more motivated to run.
“I don’t know the people posting the negative comments so I don’t take it to heart.If they’re doing this to me rather than somebody who might not have the mental stability, do it to me all day long.”
BREAKFAST: Breakfast buffets, bacon sandwiches, sausage sandwiches
LUNCH: McDonald’s, chippies
DINNER: Takeaways including kebabs and Chinese meals
SNACKS: Chocolate and crisps
BREAKFAST: Protein shakes, yogurts
LUNCH: Chicken and vegetables
DINNER: Chicken and sweet potato
SNACKS: Protein yoghurt, fruit
Jaime says he initially got into running to lose weight so he could feel healthier and ‘look good’ in clothes.He said: “I got into running during lockdown. I stopped last year, then picked it up again this year, and this year is where I’ve really taken it to the next level.
“I entered my first 10k in April, I’m booked in for the Derby half marathon. To do this from pretty much scratch in January, especially for somebody who’s bigger, is quite an achievement.
“I started running to lose weight. I’ve always had a constant battle with weight, I’d lose it and put it back on. This time, I was trying to do things a bit differently by taking on an active lifestyle.
“I want to get down to about 16 or 17 stone, but it’s not really about the weight, I used to be obsessed with the scale. I’ve scrapped scales now, I eat what I want, I eat healthily, it’s all about looking good in clothes for me.
“I love to shop, I love to buy nice things. It’s about looking better and feeling healthier, and having stuff that fits you rather than going to a clothes store and thinking ‘They’ll never have anything in my size.’
“I’m turning 40 this year. Once you get past that mark, your body starts failing if you’re bigger. I’m quite a competitive person so I enjoy beating my times and reaching goals. Getting up at 4am is a bit of a slog but it gives you mental strength to get it done.”