A traffic engineer from Rahoon lost eight stone in one year after the tragic death of his best friend inspired him to get in shape, and fulfil his lifelong dream of competing in the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race, the world’s longest ocean race.
At his heaviest 40-year-old chocolate lover Jim Molloy, who works as a traffic engineer for Galway City Council, tipped the scale at more than 22 stone. Unhappy with his weight for many years, it was not until the death of his best friend to cancer that Jim felt the time was right for him to take action.
Within weeks of losing his friend, Jim, who is originally from Armagh in Northern Ireland, enrolled in a new health and fitness programme and set about changing his lifestyle once and for all. Evenings spent on the sofa in front of the television were swapped for regular exercise and visits to the gym. Within months of embarking on his new regime Jim signed himself up for an ambitious 100-mile bike ride around Lough Neagh, the largest lake in Ireland.
“Losing my best friend, and realising how short life is, was the motivation I needed to get in shape,” Jim said. “There were lots of things I had wanted to do, but I was being held back by my weight and I knew I could achieve so much more for myself.
“It feels odd to say it now but the one thing I found the most difficult during my transformation was giving up chocolate. It seems completely ridiculous to say that now.”
In just one year Jim shed an impressive eight stone, bringing his weight down to a much healthier 14 stone.
Although thrilled with his transformation, there was one down side to the new svelte physique: “I’m delighted with what I’ve achieved, but it has cost me a fortune, I’ve had to buy a completely new wardrobe,” he said. “It has been an amazing feeling losing what is more than half of what I weigh now.”
With a new found love of life Jim decided it was time to stop putting his dreams on hold and fulfil his lifelong ambition to take part in the Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race, the 40,000-mile, 11-month, race which allows ordinary people, under the guidance of a professional skipper, to pit themselves against the challenge of circumnavigating the globe as part of the world’s longest yacht race. The Clipper Race was founded in 1996 by sailing legend Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, the first man to sail single-handed, non-stop, around the world in 1968-69.
“I was thrilled when I found out I had been accepted onto the race,” Jim recalled. “Although my sailing experience is limited to being in a dinghy twice, my best friend always said to me ‘when an opportunity comes along, you just take it,’ and that’s what I did.
“At 22 stone there was no way I was going to be able to take part in the Clipper Race. I wouldn’t have been able to climb the mast, or any of the other things crew need to do. It has really encouraged me to remain focused and I can’t wait to start the race.”
Jim will join the Clipper 13-14 Race for Leg 8 which will cover some 3,750 miles from the east coast of North America to the British Isles. Having just completed the compulsory clipper training, he was sure of what his biggest achievement during the race will be: “Crossing the Atlantic is something I’m really looking forward to, especially with all the changeable weather and sailing conditions. I can’t wait to put everything I’ve learnt during training into action.”
The Clipper 13-14 Round the World Yacht Race will start on Sunday September 1. For further information about the race and how you can take part visit www.clipperroundtheworld.com