COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – On Sunday approximately 12,000 runners will hit the pavement for the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon. Before the event begins, the race will recognize the Lashutka Spirit Award winners, who exemplify bravery and perseverance.

One of them is Justin Boggs, who has truly seen his outlook on life change through running.

“At first, I used to run as a way to get in shape, but now, I want to get in shape so I can run better, run with more people and run longer,” said Boggs.

Boggs has come a long way in the last four years, when at his heaviest of 420 lbs., he knew it was time for a change.

“2019 was the year for me where it started connecting in my head that I’m not living a healthy lifestyle,” said Boggs. “Going on vacation and just walking around, I was out of breath. Struggled to just walk a few blocks. That was a little bit of a wakeup call. I didn’t want one day to have my wife find me dead in the bed because I didn’t take care of myself.”

That is when Boggs made the decision to get moving, setting a goal of simply walking a 5k in 2020. That led to a 10k in September. And then, a Christmas gift from his wife motivated him to do more.

“It had a 5K time, 10k best time, half marathon best time, and a full marathon best time. And I was thinking I was probably going to do a half marathon next year,” said Boggs. “But I was never really thinking about doing a full marathon until she got me that and I knew I couldn’t leave that blank. I couldn’t leave one thing blank.”

Now three years walking that first 5k in 52 minutes, Boggs is 173 lbs., has run seven half marathons, and in the coming days, will run his fourth full marathon.

“[In August], I had my birthday and people are like, oh are you feeling older? I said no, I’ve never felt younger,” said Boggs. “I have more energy. I have more spirit. That’s just what running has done for me.”

The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon and Half Marathon begins at 7:30 a.m. at North Bank Park. For more information on the event, visit here.