Kartono Wihardja Lost Almost Half of His Body Weight Through Running

On Sunday, 25 March 2018, Kartono and his colleagues participated in the ASICS Community Ultra Ekiden 2018. The group was running 88.8KM as a team in the new sport in Singapore Community Games 2018 (SCG 2018).

Nine years ago, Kartono was at his heaviest at 115kg. After his second child was born, Kartono noticed that he was panting when carrying the baby, who weighed just slightly more than 3kg. That was the turning point in his life.

From that moment, his life was turned around. He has lost almost half of his body weight now, and he’s been an inspiration to his fellow colleagues and family members. Originally from Indonesia, Kartono came to Singapore in 1999. Kartono shares about this transformation in his exclusive interview with RunSociety.

Kartono at his heaviest, with his wife and second child. (Photo Credit: Kartono)

RS: How was your experience in the ASICS Community Ultra Ekiden?

Kartono: It was a good, fun, and interesting run.

RS: How did you become overweight before 2010?

Kartono: I ate too much good food and had too little or no exercise at all. I loved to eat fried food and a lot of white rice for all my meals back then.

RS: How did you lose weight and become the person you are today? What motivated you?

Kartono: My son (second child) was my motivation. When he was born, I was panting just by carrying him and that was my wake up call. I wanted to be around for my children and watch them grow, so I decided to do something about my weight.

RS: How long did you take to lose weight?

Kartono: It took me about a year.

Kartono joined ASICS Community Ultra Ekiden 2018 with his colleagues. (Photo Credit: People's Association)

RS: What are the difficulties and challenges in switching your diet and lifestyle? Or was it easy?

Kartono: In the beginning, waking up at 4 to 5 a.m. daily to walk and run as well as cutting down on all the junk food were not easy. Changing my diet was the biggest challenge- I replaced white rice with oatmeal totally and it had a huge impact on my weight. Exercise is important, but you also have to change your diet to see the change.

RS: Nowadays, how do your training routine and food intake look like?

Kartono: For food, I stick with low carb, high protein food. I spend 6 days a week, sometimes 7 days, for training, depending on my schedule. My training lasts from 30mins to 2 hours.

RS: Tell us about your running journey. How did you begin?

Kartono: I started in late 2009 when I was about 33 years old and weighed around 115kg. I started by walking and gradually moved on to jogging.

Photo Credit: People's Association

RS: What types of running are you into?

Kartono: I like all sorts of running, be it a short distance, long distance, ultra, trail, vertical or obstacle run.

RS: Are you into races? What races have you joined?

Kartono: Yes. I’ve joined too many that I’ve lost count. I’ve participated in almost all races in Singapore.

RS: Do you do other sports as well?

Kartono: Yes, I like badminton, squash, weightlifting, jump rope, indoor rowing, heavy bag training, CrossFit, paddling (very rarely now though)

RS: What do you like most about running?

Kartono: What I love most about running is that I get to spend me-time.

Photo Credit: People's Association

RS: What exercises would you recommend to severely overweight people who want to lose weight?

Kartono: Start with walking first. Then pick any exercise you will like for the rest of your life.

RS: Who is your greatest supporter on this journey of adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle?

Kartono: My family and my company, StarHub. My daughter (first child) says she prefers me now compared to last time because I can play badminton with her. Before the weight loss, I would prefer to stay at home, but now, she is happy with the transformation.

RS: Many of us here in Singapore live a busy lifestyle, so how do you manage your time to balance your work, family and exercise?

Kartono: I will find time to exercise any time I can. I have run or done my exercise from early morning hour, to lunchtime at noon to midnight or graveyard hours.  I don’t depend on certain timing to exercise. Whether it’s 6 a.m. or 6 p.m., it doesn’t matter. If I have to exercise at 2 to 3 a.m. due to work or family commitment, then I’ll do it. And I’ve done them, many times over.

Kartono with his team after completing ASICS Community Ultra Ekiden 2018 (Photo Credit: People's Association)

RS: What are your fitness or personal goals for this year?

Kartono: I’m an old man now, so I just try to maintain my fitness level.

RS: Do your family members run as well?

Kartono: Yes, my wife. She has her own group of friends whom she runs with now.

RS: What message would you give to overweight people who want to lose weight?

Kartono: Discipline is the key. You need to be disciplined in controlling your diet and push yourself to exercise. Exercise and diet must go together.

In summary, if there's a will, there's a way. Kartono's successful weight loss have inspired his friends, family and us. While we try to keep our weight in check, we should ensure that we prevent accidents and injuries. We can make running challenging, exciting, and, above all, fun.

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