STUNNED Bournemouth distance runner Steve Way hailed as “the proudest moment of my life” his selection for Team England in this year’s Commonwealth Games marathon.
The 39-year-old, a 16-and-a-half stone, 20-a-day smoker before beginning his remarkable running career seven years ago, was today called up having been the third Englishman to cross the line in April's London Marathon – a qualifying event for Glasgow this summer.
Olympic champion Mo Farah and Chris Thompson – first and second respectively – both decided to focus their attention on track events at the games, paving the way for the veteran to complete his transformation from couch potato to Commonwealth competitor.
“I’m still in a state of shock,” said Way. “It’s a dream come true to get to this point in my life and receive the call up. I am absolutely stunned.
“Up until recently, it was always a pipe dream, I never felt it was realistic. Representing England in smaller competitions was always very special to me and something I saw as a massive achievement in itself.
“But to go to a major games is beyond anything I could have expected and most definitely the proudest moment of my life.”
Way now has until July 27 to prepare for the 26.2-mile jaunt but feels that his recent exploits both in the capital and in breaking the British 100km road record earlier this month will stand him in good stead.
“Having completed those events over the past month, my preparations could not have been better,” he added.
“I am in the best shape of my life and it all bodes well as long as I can put together a decent training programme over the next 11 weeks.
“I do have to control my enthusiasm a bit. The one thing about distance running is that you can get carried away and end up over-training, so I need to make sure I don’t make myself too tired to race.
“Whenever I start preparing, I always set out with my personal best in mind and see where that takes me. If I beat that then it’s an improvement.
“I have not had much time to look at the course yet but I want to get into a better position physically than I was before the London Marathon.
“There is a lot of hard work ahead but I can’t wait, it’s what dreams are made of.”