HOUSTON — A Houston man is finally getting to a chance to complete his ultimate goal: competing in the Chevron Houston Marathon.

“I'm just following a script, and I’m just like, 'I gotta do it,'" Amer Ismail said.

With just nine hours to go, Ismail spent his Saturday night having dinner with his family, creating a 5-hour playlist and going to bed early.

By 5 a.m., he’ll be up and ready to run.

“I'm going to have a big breakfast, probably some oatmeal and egg whites, and then I'm going to just go to the event," Ismail said. "I'm feeling good. I’m nervous, excited and ready to survive it. Ready to be done.”

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Ismail is excited because he will finally be starting the race he’s waited forever to finish.

“The first 13 miles I've run like 8 times now, so I'm pretty confident, the last 13, just hopefully some little girl with a sign will push me through for the rest of it," Ismail said.

The Chevron Houston Marathon is a massive feat for any runner, but Ismail ran his first mile ever in his life only a year ago.

Three years ago, he weighed almost 500 pounds.

“I really couldn’t walk this area without being out of breath. Climbing up one flight of stairs was all it took for me to be exhausted," Ismail said.

On Sunday, he’s running 26 miles.

“Just kind of the drive and dream of getting that has been what’s pushing me," Ismail said.

For ismail, it was complete lifestyle change to lose 220 pounds, a daily decision to eat right and workout.

Success in baby steps.

“Don’t think about that far ahead. Think about the next month. It’s all about consistency. It’s about doing it day by day," Ismail said.

Start small, then dream big.

“That’s kind of a big chapter to be able to close in my life. To be like, I’ve reached a goal I’ve wanted to reach. I'm healthy. I'm fit. I'm active. I ran a marathon," Ismail said.

Because changing your life is a marathon. Not a sprint.


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