187 pounds later: N.L. man conquers grueling run from Cape Spear to Cabot Tower

·3 min read
A split screen shows Kyle White at 430 lbs and what he looks like now. (Kyle White - image credit)
A split screen shows Kyle White at 430 lbs and what he looks like now. (Kyle White - image credit)

In running circles it's known as one of the toughest road racing courses on the go: a 20-kilometre route that winds up and down countless brutal hills along Newfoundland's easternmost coast.

A few years ago, the Cape to Cabot course — stretching from rocky, barren Cape Spear to historic Signal Hill in St. John's — might as well have been Mount Everest for Kyle White.

It's certainly not something he would ever have conceived of completing himself.

"I accidentally came up on Signal Hill as they were finishing a Cape to Cabot [one year], and I was like, 'that looks crazy,'" he said, standing on the traditional start line one August morning.

"There's no way I could do that."

But a lot has changed for White.

As COVID-19 started shutting everything down early in 2020, the 29 year-old man from Old Perlican weighed in at more than 430 pounds.

Working from home and knowing he needed to make changes, White and his wife Laura began a journey that would make running the Cape to Cabot route seem like a stroll down St. John's pedestrian mall.

As CBC News reported this spring, the pair transitioned to a mostly plant-based diet and started hiking. White then took it a step further and starting running in the frigid Saskatoon winter.

White added more and more kilometres to his running routes, recently completing a 10-kilometre race.

Submitted by Kyle White
Submitted by Kyle White

He's also shed more weight since CBC last checked in on him — bringing his total loss to 187 pounds.

"It's hard to describe how much energy I have every day, no aches and pains," White said earlier this week.

"Always ready to wake up and go for a run."

In August, White finally got a chance to come home and see his family, something he hadn't been able to do since October 2019.

Back in April, he told CBC that when he got home, a hug from his mom was going to feel a lot different.

"The hug felt really good," he said. "There were tears. Lots of tears."

Denita Button Broderick
Denita Button Broderick

The man his family sees now is a fraction of the size his family saw back then.

His new look certainly didn't go unnoticed at his great-grandmother's 90th birthday party.

"You sometimes hear the same line a few times, 'wow you've lost a whole person' or 'I wouldn't recognize you,'" said White.

"Living with it, you don't think about it much, really. But for folks who haven't seen me in two years, I imagine it's a little bit of a shock."

While the prospect of a 20-kilometre run on your summer vacation isn't everyone's idea of a good time, it was something White had to do.

"The drive out here is always a little bit intimidating, but I feel good," said White.

"I'm in my peak week for a training plan. I feel pretty fit."

With his mom, sister and stepdad following him in their car, White climbed up and down the hills from one national historic site to another, slowing only to give his sister a high five every few kilometres.

Denita Button Broderick
Denita Button Broderick

While tourists snapped selfies on Signal Hill, just over two hours after starting his run, White made his way up the final incline, running past the sightseers and slapping his hand against Cabot Tower.

His mom snapped a photo as White threw his hands in the air, in an almost-homage to Sylvester Stallone's iconic Rocky pose.

But White's fight doesn't end here: he has a few more things to cross off his bucket list.

"I'm a very goal-oriented person," he said.

"I'm going to try and run the full Saskatchewan Marathon in the spring."

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