COLUMBUS, Ind. — Runners in the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon provide so many inspiring stories each year. A Columbus man is training for his first run around the Speedway after incredible weight loss over the past two years. In a much healthier way, Corey Seegers is literally half the man he used to be.
Seegers starts each morning now running six to 10 miles, usually before the sun comes up. He's a big guy, a 6’8” former basketball player at Columbus North High School and St. Joseph's College.
But after his playing days ended, Seegers kept getting bigger.
"I didn't want to step on a scale,” Seegers said. “That was something that I avoided at all costs, and finally broke down and went to the doctor as other health things started kind of popping up. And so, at my heaviest, I weighed 603 pounds, and my waistline was about 80 inches."
That was early in 2020. Suffering from depression and anxiety, and many physical health problems from obesity, Seegers finally decided to make a change.
"I think anything's possible with the right mindset and not letting things like COVID or maybe not having the greatest cards dealt over the years hold you back,” Seegers said.
He first had to lose over 100 pounds by walking and diet changes just to be eligible for bariatric surgery. Doctors removed two-thirds of his stomach on Oct. 1, 2020.
After his recovery, Corey started running in 2021. Now he is back down to his college basketball playing weight of 275 pounds. Health problems with sleep apnea, diabetes, and high blood pressure are gone along with all that extra weight.
“I'm not really worried about the number that's on the scale as much as I am everything else,” Seegers said. “If I'm happy, if I'm healthy - those are obviously my main goals. But I've kind of drifted from worrying about the number on the scale to worrying about how far I can run, and how fast I can run."
The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon will mark his third half marathon completed. Now 40 years old, he plans to run his first full marathon this fall.
"Not only am I better for myself, I feel like I'm better for my kids, for my family, able to be more of that kind of person they can depend on when they need some advice or they need somebody solid to talk to,” Seegers said. “So, mentally it's made a huge impact."
Seegers hopes his story can be an inspiration to others who may suffer from severe obesity — that lasting change is possible. He stresses that bariatric surgery is not a quick fix. Lifestyle and diet changes are essential.