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Don't let challenges stop your fitness journey
May 11th, 2012
11:56 AM ET

Don't let challenges stop your fitness journey

Glenn Keller is one of seven CNN viewers training to race the Nautica Malibu Triathlon with Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This weekend, the team and Dr. Gupta will head to Hawaii for a training trip. Keller just completed a 5k held in his honor in his hometown of Burleson, Texas.

I heard it said that everyone gets 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime. If this is my 15 minutes, it is creating a lifetime of memories.

On Saturday May 5, 2012, there was a 5k race in Burleson, Texas. This 5k was different from every other 5k that I had ever heard of. The distance was the same. The rules were the same. The difference is this 5k was called “Let’s get started with Glenn.”

Mayor Ken Shetter has a health initiative that he put into place in Burleson. When he got the news of a local resident being selected for The CNN Fit Nation Challenge, he and the administration started planning "The Be Healthy 5k".

Nothing so far has compared to having family, friends and neighbors come together and do something of this magnitude in my honor. More than 100 of my neighbors registered and turned out to participate.

The race started only a few blocks from my home. I left home an hour and a half before things were scheduled to get started. When I got to the corner of my block I saw a lawn sign that said “Nothing is impossible with God." That was very encouraging and inspiring.

I was the first to arrive at the race location and it was unbelievable. Signs were being put up, cones were marking the course and people were gathering to support me. One of my neighbors and I started some idle talk about running and how long it had been since he ran. I told him this was my first 5k.

Just before race time Mayor Shetter called me up to the platform to address everyone that had arrived. The very first thing I did was thank God for this unbelievable moment and then I continued to address my family, friends and neighbors.

I expressed my disappointment in having an injury but went on to explain how it in no way was going to prevent me from starting and finishing this 5k. I said, “This is going to be a no excuse day!" After all, it was excuses that allowed my weight to balloon to over 300 pounds. We were there to get started and that was exactly what we were going to do.

I talked about how in order the become a Fit Nation we were going to have to start with fit individuals. And those individuals would have to share it with their families, then spread it to communities, churches, employers, our cities, then states, and eventually we would be a Fit Nation.

When I stepped down from the platform the neighbor I had been talking to approached me and said “Glenn, you didn’t tell me you were the man!” That was a moment. I was the man. Wow!

Do you recall my blog after we went to Atlanta for the kick-off of the Fit Nation Triathlon Challenge? I talked about how as I was attempting to hike Stone Mountain, it seemed an angel came out of nowhere just when I needed encouraging the most. Well, on race day the angels were everywhere.

First there was Joann, who has been a runner for more than 20 years and who I’m sure would have done extremely well in this race. However, every step of the 3.1 miles she was right by my side, coaching me, giving me tips and encouraging me. From the starting line to the finish line she was right there.

When the race was over Mark, a police officer, introduced himself and invited me to be part of a running club that meets every first Saturday of the month, and said everyone in the group would help me.

Then there was Frank, the director of the Burleson Recreation Center, that offered all the resources of his center, including swim coaches, to assist me in this endeavor.

The movie "Akeelah and The Bee" was about a young lady who was selected to participate in the national spelling bee. When her community found out that she had been selected, they were ecstatic. As she would be walking or riding her bike through her neighborhood, people all along her route would call out spelling words to help her get prepared for the championship.

This is exactly how I felt on the day of the 5k.

In Atlanta it was a pulled hamstring that slowed me down, and now I think it is a strained tendon. There will always be some obstacle, and I understand that. But whatever this is, and what ever the next thing will be, I am refusing to allow anything to prevent me from achieving my ultimate goal of crossing the finish line with my six teammates in Malibu, California - each of whom I’m able to draw inspiration from.

I’ve learned life is full of challenges, obstacles and stumbling blocks, but none of them in my life are going to ever be allowed to stop me. I pray that whatever your life’s challenges, obstacles and stumbling blocks, they won't stop you either.


soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. cubby custard

    Miniii Linguini, we should def do a 5K sooon!! WE CAN DO IT!!!
    WOOOHOOOOOOO!

    May 11, 2012 at 13:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      That would be great!

      May 11, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
  2. Nancy Klinger

    Glenn, just another 3.1 mikes in your life's journey.

    May 11, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      That's all Nancy. Thanks.

      May 11, 2012 at 19:28 | Report abuse |
  3. Margurite O'Neal

    Your are an inspiration to us all and we pray that God will continue to strenghten you as you prepare for, and execute this milestone event. Since I am sooo inspired, it's time for me to get busy developing my own fitness plan – 30 minutes a day everyday. Not just a cheerleader but a "doer". A whole national getting FIT...!!! It's on now...!!!

    May 11, 2012 at 19:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Come on Margurite there is room for everyone!

      May 11, 2012 at 19:29 | Report abuse |
  4. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    Exercise is the most amazing feeling in the world! The after effects are PHENOMENAL!

    May 13, 2012 at 20:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      It was great crossing the finishline at Malibu Triathlon thanks for you support.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:52 | Report abuse |
  5. SanowarFITNESS

    Great story!

    May 13, 2012 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      thanks for you support finished my first Triathlon yesterday.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:53 | Report abuse |
  6. SanowarFITNESS

    Good positive vibes!

    May 13, 2012 at 22:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Marcia

    Very encouraging this has been a lesson in perseverance and a village helping an individual to get fit and never give up.

    May 15, 2012 at 14:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      And it worked Marcia because yesterday I cross the finish line at my first Triathlon.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:54 | Report abuse |
  8. Dave

    Glenn, thanks for your inspiration. I'm recovering from hamstring issues, and have gotten to about 30 minutes running/walking. As I told you before, we are with you as you swim/bike/run. You have it deep within you. And you have us beside you every stroke, mile and step.

    May 29, 2012 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Dave thank you so much I was able to finish that first Triathlon yesterday and it was the beginning of something special.

      September 17, 2012 at 07:55 | Report abuse |
  9. Gary

    I usually watch Fox but switched to CNN. This story hit me so hard. Glen is proof all people are meant to get along and stop any racial division in this World. He was so great in this story and the ijournalist was the same.. I cannot believe how inspiring this man is. I don't know him and probably will never will but I love his determination. Red, Yellow Black and White like Jesus thought ...Everyone who Loves life knows.

    August 19, 2012 at 18:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • glenn c keller

      Gary thank you for those wonderful words it meant a lot. Just came back to let you know thanks be to God I cross the finish line yesterday. Meeting me is not that hard why not give a call and say hello sometime 504-251-7806

      September 17, 2012 at 07:59 | Report abuse |

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.