FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Frank Murphy was the winner of the 2013 season of Fort Wayne’s smallest winner, though he will just tell you he was a contestant. While going through the program, he lost nearly 100 pounds and discovered that he liked to run. He says it’s a good way to stay in shape, but that he also really enjoys running. The final challenge on Smallest Winner that year was to run the Fort4Fitness half marathon. Murphy said when he was told that he had to run the half marathon, he thought it would take him six hours. Then as he lost weight, he thought maybe it would only take five hours or four. He finished that race in just over two hours.
Since then he’s run numerous other races and is scheduled to run a 100K trail race (that’s at least 62 miles long!). He continues to push himself, but it’s no longer about losing weight. It’s about seeing how far he can go, and how far he can motivate those around him to go. After going through Fort Wayne’s Smallest Winner, he wanted to bring a similar program to his workplace. He talked to the wellness committee there, and Fort Wayne’s Smallest winner ended up partnering with his workplace to put on a smaller version of their program.
Frank also became certified as a running coach. He now coaches contestants on Fort Wayne’s Smallest Winner and helps lead the Fort4Fitness official training group. Murphy says the feeling of watching someone you ran with and helped train cross the finish line is just as good as crossing that line yourself. He simply wants to pay it forward, to be the inspiration to others that he had while going through Smallest Winner. Last year he was the 2 hour pace team leader for the Fort4Fitness half marathon. This year Frank will be the 4:25 pace team leader for the new Fort4Fitness full marathon, helping participants finish the race in less than four and a half hours. He says he is grateful to Fort4Fitness for listening to the requests of past runners to offer a full marathon at the Fall Festival.
Murphy also runs with a group called Run for the Fallen. They run from Fort Wayne to Indianapolis over the course of 3 days to raise awareness and support for families who have lost loved ones serving our country. He says Fort Wayne’s Smallest Winner gave him a new confidence, not just in running and fitness, but to try new things in other areas of his life. His wife, Rose, has been by his side for the entire journey.