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Derek Mitchell Sets 2016 Goal of Achieving His Best Health Through 5K Races

For most of his life, Derek Mitchell has struggled with maintaining a healthy weight.

His visit to the doctor’s office in November of 2014 was the turning point for him when he stepped on the scale…it read 625 pounds. That’s when he decided to make a major change to improve his health.

Derek made a New Year’s resolution to be healthier. He stopped drinking soda, started eating better, and his sister, who is a marathon runner, encouraged him to begin walking for exercise. So, he began walking a mile a day, which was an extremely difficult task at the time but he stuck with it and was encouraged by his sister to take it a step further and set a goal of walking a 5K.

He signed up for the Big 12 5K in Kansas City, Missouri- his very first race- and loved every minute of it: “After I finished my first 5K, I felt great. It was a feeling I had never felt before. I hurt, but I felt such a sense of accomplishment and pride.” He loved it so much, he decided to participate in a 5K each month to stay fit and on track. That was in March of 2015. For the remainder of the year, Derek stayed focused, kept up his resolution and smashed his goal. By the end of 2015, he had completed over 20 races and dropped nearly 100 pounds.

With the help of Humana, Derek was able to include finishes at the Virginia Beach, San Antonio and Knoxville Rock n’ Roll events as two of his races completed in 2015. Derek knows just how great it can feel to see all of the hard work payoff: “I know that it’s healthy for me. I know it will make my life better,” he says. “I feel amazing every time I step on the scale and see that smaller number.”

In addition to enjoying the physical changes that come with his new, healthy lifestyle, Derek has begun to appreciate the mental benefits: “Now that I’ve made exercise part of my normal routine, I’ve noticed that I seem to have more energy. I’m sleeping better and in the morning I feel so much more refreshed. I even get up earlier, which is something I didn’t always do before!”

Derek plans to run in many more Rock n’ Roll events in 2016 and, working with his doctor, has set a goal to lose another 96 pounds. He praises all the support he receives from the running community that he is now a proud member of: “I’m loving the 5K,” he says. “The running community is so encouraging. I’ve made a lot of friends just because of their character. They accept everyone, no matter what they look like.” Derek is a proud Team RWB member, and in addition to rocking his RWB Eagle shirt, he uses the running app, Charity Miles, to raise money for Team RWB for every mile he conquers.

Humana is excited to support this inspiring Humana member on his journey toward achieving his best health, and will be with him every step of the way. Great things are ahead for Derek, and he is more than ready for it! By starting to get healthy, and stay healthy, Derek is setting himself up for more exciting adventures to come. So, whether you are just starting your health journey, or are a regular on the Rock n Roll circuit, if you see Derek on the course, give him a high five on your way to the finish line.