Formerly unfit Scottish ‘old bloke’ becomes unlikely guru with fitness guide

A formerly unfit Scottish ‘old bloke’ has written a physical training manual aimed at middle-aged men, describing how he went from doing his initial run in the dark to avoid being seen to running almost 35 kilometres a week.
Paul Murdoch. Picture: John DevlinPaul Murdoch. Picture: John Devlin
Paul Murdoch. Picture: John Devlin

Paul Murdoch’s diary details his six-month transformation which saw him dropping three stone to 12 stone and going from an overweight, middle-aged man in denial, acting “macho” about his weight, eating junk food and drinking beer in the bath to a more svelte figure capable of running up to 35km a week.

In Old Bloke Goes Running, from profit-sharing Scottish publisher Neetah Books, the 57-year-old father of four from Alexandria, West Dunbartonshire, who has asthma and is on statins, recalls the moment he first accepted the fact that he had to drastically overhaul his whole way of living.

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“I realised I was on the way out if I didn’t do something to change my lifestyle. I wouldn’t get to see my grandchildren, cash in my state pension, or even get to spend to spend my kids’ inheritance.

Paul Murdoch goes running.Paul Murdoch goes running.
Paul Murdoch goes running.

“I had this utter epiphany on holiday in Madeira with my wife. I was really struggling to climb a hill to our hotel. It gave me a real fright.”

A friend helped him buy running gear and, after a health check with his GP, he set off one November evening last year.

“I stood tall like a marathon runner, took a deep breath and promptly coughed my guts up. I did a U-turn and retrieved my inhaler from my study.”

He then began checking out a range of sport tech gadgets. “While trying to turn on the background light of my watch to see how many calories I’d burned after a hundred yards I slammed straight into a blue wheelie bin.”

Murdoch altered his diet and kept his calorie intake to 600 two days a week. Recipes such as ‘Old Bloke’s chilli and bacon omelette’ and ‘Old Bloke’s Breakfast Yogurt are included in the book.

He has stuck to his old alcohol regime of ‘four days off, three days on’, but has reduced his intake.Previously, he consumed a bottle of wine daily and had “a few beers” in the bath. Now he has one bottle of wine over two or three nights, and has reduced beers to two in the bath with a good audio book after a long run.

Despite being two stone off his ideal weight, he said: “Prosecco chocolate, steak pies and spare ribs are still in. Life is too short to cut out the few things that give us pleasure.”

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And the man once almost defeated by walking up a hill on holiday now has moments when he feels absolutely unbeatable.

‘Old Bloke Goes Running’ by Paul Murdoch, £7.99, Neetah Books. [email protected] .