There’s a line from the famous mid 1960s song ‘Yesterday’ by The Beatles and one with which Castleisland man Gerard ‘Gerdie’ Murphy could claim empathy – but with a positive twist.
‘I’m not half the man I used to be.’
Gerdie has been on a mission for the past 15 months to become close to half the man he has been for far too long – according to his own assessment of his weight before he took it firmly in hand.
It was on August 4th 2000, in the middle of the lock-down, that Gerdie called himself aside after hitting the scales at 18-1 – that’s 18 stone and a pound in weight.
No Comfortable Clothes
“That was when I knew I had to take myself and my weight in hand. I, quite literally, had no clothes that would fit me comfortably and I found myself getting tired even by walking around the shop and up and down the stairs here and I wasn’t a great advertisement for a sports shop[ either,” he recalled.
Gerdie is one half of the Vincent Murphy Sports Shop double act with his father.
Like most people of a a certain age around the world, Gerdie Murphy knows exactly where he was when US President John F. Kennedy was assassinated that day in Dallas.
In a Cot in Killarney Road
He was in a cot in Killarney Road, Castleisland and just a month old when the innocence of the world died that day with President Kennedy – and he was 58 last week.
“I knew if I kept on the road I was on I’d be looking at a future with medication and cholesterol and diabetes and I decided to act.
“The first morning I went up to the Desmonds pitch and I walked around the track there and it nearly killed me. But I said I’d that one lap for the first week. I increased it to two the following and then to three on week three.
Well Lit Streets
Over the winter months and through the lock-down Gerdie took to the well lit streets of the town – like many others.
But there were few others taking on the miles of footpath with the kind of determination and resolve that he harboured for the task ahead of him.
“It actually helped that there were no pubs to go to. All you could do was get up and out of the bed and hit the road.
From Pound Road to Dooneen
“After a while I started taking on Pound Road and up past Curranes National School and down along Fahaduff and Dooneen and into town.
“I’d go up Cragg past Casey’s, Curtin’s and Downey’s and maybe around Powell’s Road on another day.
After about six weeks of this kind of walking and watching what I was eating I saw that I had lost a stone and that was a great moment of motivation.
“I kept walking all through Christmas – always in the mornings and through hail, rain or shine.
From Con Houlihan’s to Thady Twomey’s
“I was at that for about three months and I got brave and started jogging part of the way. I used to time myself from Reineen – outside Connie Houlihan’s house down to Thady Twomey’s bohereen in Knockane.
“After months of that I returned to the Desmonds pitch – but this time a much fitter and lighter man.
“I found another advantage of using the safety of the pitch in that I was ably to add my ear plugs and musical motivation – which I couldn’t do on the busy roads.
Mozart, Pavarotti and The Beatles
“Mozart, Pavarotti, The Beatles and Elvis were all in my ear at one time or another and spurring me on as I criss-crossed the pitch from corner-to-corner and did laps of the track covering eight or nine kilomentres every day.
“Now I know that if I have a pint at night I can go back up the following morning and maybe do an extra lap and just keep to the plan.
As he seemed to be in a great position to give a bit of advice to people who would have a share of weight to lose with a feeling that their problem is insurmountable.
Better Living and Good Habits
“It’s very easy to start into a programme of better living and good habits but it’s also very easy to get discouraged if you don’t see results in the first couple of weeks.
“Sticking with a plan is more than half the battle. There are days when you’d get disheartened and see no progress at all and wonder what all your effort is for. Then the next day you’d find that you’ve lost a couple of pounds.
Don’t let the Weather Stop You
“They’re the good days and the ones worth working for and they’re the days that will keep you at it and the more of those day you can put together the more you know you’re winning.
“Don’t let the rain or the wind or any kind of weather stop you. Get out of the bed and get at it and stay at it and you’ll see the results.
“You’ll eventually get to your own winning post and that’s the feeling that’ll stay with you and that’s the feeling that’ll keep you going.
“It worked for me. I feel great. I’m not half the man I used to be – thank God,” said a delighted Gerdie.
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