Saturday 10 December 2016

Vincent Hogan: Running man

Gerry Duffy used to be 'disgusted' by his corpulent frame, but now he’s taking on 10 Ironman triathlons in as many days

Published 30/05/2011 | 05:00

He was a 17-stone heart-attack-in-waiting who began running and couldn't stop. Gerry Duffy smoked more than a coal-fired power station and had the calorie intake of a Mississippi school canteen. His idea of endurance was the 25-minute wait for a pizza delivery. If you were to tick 10 boxes for bad living, Gerry probably qualified on nine.

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Golf was his only saving grace and, if there is a tinge of melancholy in his story now, it is the photograph that inspired it. For Seve Ballesteros looks tanned and radiant as he shakes a meaty hand at Mount Juliet in 1995.

Gerry barely recognises himself in the picture. Ballesteros was his god, but he remembers being "shocked and disgusted" by the corpulent figure standing to Seve's left.

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