DADE CITY (FOX 13) - For Martin Ellis, running is a passion.
Most days, the 57-year-old’s feet get moving before the sun comes up. His heart pounds and sweat pours as he inches closer to his goal.
This weekend the Dade City man will lace up his sneakers and join thousands of other runners racing in the Gasparilla Distance Classic. There are four races: The 5K, 8K, 15K, and half marathon.
Martin plans to complete every single one for a distance of more than 30-miles. He says he's ready.
“I am working with a running coach and there's daily and weekly training schedules," he said. "As people are sleeping late, I’m getting up at 4 a.m. so we can meet with friends at 5 a.m. when it's a little bit cooler out."
He's been training for the event for six months, however, crossing the finish line Sunday might be considered his second-biggest accomplishment. Over the last year, Martin has dropped about 85-pounds.
"The most that I ever remember seeing on the scale was 305," said Martin. "That was a rough day, it was a really rough day to realize that I was that out of control."
It may have been tough to swallow, but it was a turning point. In March, Martin had robotic gastric sleeve surgery to get back on track and get healthy.
"Martin was the typical patient in that he needed the weight loss operation because of several medical conditions that were rather early in their onset," said Dr. John Dietrick, Medical Director of the Surgical Weight Loss Institute of the Florida Hospital Tampa.
It hasn't been an easy journey, but Martin just keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Ready to take his victory lap.
"I feel, once again, that I’m in control of my life,” Martin said. “I got my life back."
Every weight loss surgery comes with the chance of complications which should be explained to patients.
Dr. Dietrick tells FOX 13 News a sleeve gastrectomy is one of the lowest risk surgeries done at Florida Hospital Tampa, saying for many patients, the health risks of remaining overweight are greater than having the operation.