Triathlete loses more than 200 pounds during training for Ironman

May 17, 2012 4:45:47 PM PDT
This weekend, hundreds of athletes will be pushing themselves to the limit, competing in the Ironman in The Woodlands. One of the competitors is trying it out after losing more than half his weight.

If you saw Eric Yollick running past you on the street you might not notice him. But there's something special in each stride, each thump of his soles against the pavement.

"I am going to be in my first Ironman triathlon," he said.

Eric has been training for a year.

He admitted, "Yeah, I am a little nervous, I have to admit."

He's been running, biking, and swimming to get ready for an epic day of competition that he undersells.

"I think that I have a pretty good chance of finishing," Eric predicted. "Other than that, it's just a day of exercise."

But that is where Eric's story begins -- there is much more to him. In fact, there used to be a lot more to him.

He said, "As of this morning, I've lost 230 pounds since July 1, 2010."

Two years ago Eric weighed 406 pounds.

"I really just decided that it was really time for me to start taking care of myself," Eric said.

So here he is, less than half the man he was, about to run a marathon after biking 112 miles and swimming 2.4 miles.

Eric said, "It has really made a huge difference in my life. Every moment of my life is different than when I weighed more than 400 pounds."

His story is inspiring enough if it ended there. But with Eric, there's more.

In 2003 his son was diagnosed with leukemia and is still fighting it. And two years ago, his wife was told she had uterine cancer, but is now in remission. So those steps and those strokes and the spin of the wheel are for them.

Eric explained, "We really have a serious chance at this point in human history to defeat cancer once and for all."

Six months ago Eric started the Team Yollick Foundation to end cancer. The goal is a million dollars.

"It's a reality to see it end in our lifetime," said Geoff Litke, Team Yollick Executive Director.

Litke says they've raised nearly $25,000 so far. He says as Eric runs his hope is to help the researchers who discovered the drug that's saving his son, as well as those who detected his wife's cancer early enough to save her, and to create prevention and counseling centers in Houston.

"We want to put money to the people who are doing something to end cancer," Eric said.

Team Yollick believes they can help end cancer. And if Eric can lose more than half of his weight...

"Actually even my wife said to me about a week ago that she can't remember the way I used to look," he said.

And he can finish a triathlon, who's to tell them they can't beat a disease.

"If someone puts their mind to it, someone can accomplish pretty much anything they want to accomplish," said Eric.


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