SINGAPORE - In December 2018, Priyank Sharma burst into tears after finishing his first 21.1km run in 3h 8min.
It was the culmination of a journey the 37-year-old embarked on just months before, when he tipped the scales at nearly 100kg.
"I normally consider myself a strong person but that was the first time I cried in a long while," said the senior vice-president in strategy and planning at a local bank.
"Lots of emotions came out, I felt so proud of myself and thankful to my family for their support."
Just six months before, he was lying on his bed when his wife told him to "get out and run".
While Sharma had not exercised for 10 years before that, he decided on a whim to go for a 4km run.
He completed the run feeling so happy and energised that he started running twice a week, and now runs up to a combined 60km weekly. While he tipped the scales at 98.7kg, he lost 26kg in six months.
But the journey towards a healthier life was not easy.
When he started, Sharma would get tired every few hundred metres and after every run, his whole body ached, he could not breathe properly and he felt dehydrated.
He said: "The beauty of running is the competition is with myself. Whenever I felt my pace wasn't good, or when I felt bad, it always came back to me that this was about outdoing myself and that has made me continue running.
"There's no one to compete with you and you decide your own destiny."
He made changes to his diet and water intake after feeling "guilty" after his meals, and took to the gym to build muscles that support him in his runs.
Sharma quipped: "Everything felt bad but I was enthusiastic because I wanted to feel happy and running made me happy. Then small results started to show up which were really helpful and kept me motivated."
Now, he completes two or three 5km runs on weekdays and one 10-20km run during the weekend at East Coast Park or the Marina Barrage.
He also goes to the gym twice a week to build muscles and to maintain his upper and lower body strength for long runs.
Sharma has also influenced his mother-in-law and colleagues to start running, while his wife - who is pregnant with their first child - promised to start after giving birth.
On Saturday (June 1) night, Sharma is continuing on his "pursuit of happiness", as he lines up for the Osim Sundown Marathon's 21.1km race, which he aims to complete in 2h 30min. His current personal best is 2h 48min, which he clocked in April 2019.
"When I run, I feel happy and that made me realise it's the one thing I want to do in my life," said Sharma, who aims to complete a full marathon later this year and a triathlon by 2022.
"To get my body into a very horrible situation took me 10 years and getting it to a much better place just took a couple of years.
"At the end of the day it's about having to pace yourself out, it's about longer term. You have many miles going forward, it's not just about the next mile.
"This whole mindset has given me a perspective of how I can make my life better by pacing myself throughout the day, week, and year.