Brandon Peeler’s Story: From 300lbs to Thumb Coast Ultra

In January 2016 I found myself sitting at 300lbs and thought enough was enough! I signed up for a Spartan Beast OCR (16 miles) in May of that year and by that time I had already lost around 40lbs, but still being 260lbs it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, but I finished! From there I was hooked and continued to lift weights and run 5ks here and there and continued losing little by little until I hit my goals of getting to 200lbs in August of 2020.
After that I needed new goals and events to keep working towards, and in 2021 I ran my first half marathon. In 2022. I decided to see how lean I could get and entered the Grand Rapids men’s physique bodybuilding competition and I took second and third in my classes. 8 weeks later I ran my first marathon, followed by my first gravel bike race. In 2023, I did my first 50k run, a 100 mile bike race, and entered my first XC mountain bike race, which I came first place in my class! I ended 2023 with the detroit international half marathon where I finished in 1:50 crushing my sub two hour goal. 
This year in 2024 I turn 40 and really wanted to turn up the pressure and see what my body can do, so I signed up for an indoor triathlon (20/20/20) in February, then the Thumb 50 mile run in April, an olympic distance triathlon in June, and ending the year with my main goal, which is to complete the Chatanooga full Ironman in September. I also have a goal this year to go sub 20 minutes on a 5k, and I will be defending last year’s Mountain bike title again ūüôā
If you’re new to running, being consistent and continuing to show up and put in the work will get you there, but it does take time. Just be patient, as it won’t happen overnight. I can remember not being able to run a mile much less a 5k, and thinking that guys who run marathons are crazy! Now, I am finally that crazy guy!

Why are you choosing Thumb Coast Ultra?

Our family has a cottage in Kinde, between caseville¬†and Port Austin and¬†me and my girls have been running the Caseville 5k every year for the past 5-6 years now. So when I saw the chance to run up there I knew I had to jump on it! I’m signed up for the 50 miler, as I did a 50k race last year and so¬†this¬†is the¬†next¬†progression toward eventually doing a 100 miler. I haven’t¬†set my final goal in stone yet, I assume there will be a mix of some running/walking, but if I can finish under 10 hours I’ll be content. I was able to complete last year’s 50k run in 5:28, but for the 50 miler I plan to come in lean and mean around 20lbs lighter to help with the longer distance.¬†

How has your training been going?

I purchased one of the 50k training plans and have been loosely following that with Training Peaks. However, I am also in the midst of triathlon training which requires a couple swims, a couple bikes, a couple runs, and I try to get in 3 or more weight lifting sessions where I can. Last Saturday was a 22 mile long run that started at 7AM before the sun was up, so training has been intense to say the least as a lot of my training consists of two sessions a day to fit everything in. Yesterday for example was a 3400 yard swim and then a 18 mile bike ride later in the afternoon. Today was a 16 mile run per the plan and tomorrow will be another 14 mile run. Even though the volume and time commitment is quite high, I am very excited to see where it goes and see how it translates into this long 50 mile run. 

Follow me on IG as I try to post all my training updates @swoll_daddy and theres a ton of pics and vids and on strava @Brandon Peeler (Swoll Daddy).

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