Posted by Connacht Tribune in Features.

Three years ago, he weighed 19 stone and smoked 20 cigarettes a day—now John Quinlivan is running marathons for fun.

John Quinlivan in action.

John Quinlivan in action.

The Oranmore man’s inspiring journey from couch potato to marathon man has seen him shortlisted as one of the six finalists for the Rock ’n’ Run Idol contest being held in the lead up to the Rock ’n’ Roll Half Marathon which takes place in Dublin on Sunday August 7th.

Up for grabs is a fantastic prize—to be flown with a guest to Las Vegas for the Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas Marathon & Half Marathon on November 13th.

The Oranmore man has already run seven marathons over the past three years—and all because he decided it was literally time to get off his backside.

Because after struggling to keep up with friends climbing a hill at the start of 2013, John decided to change his lifestyle.

“I joined a local weight loss group in Oranmore and started to lose weight. That gave me the confidence to join a Zero-to-5K running group which started in Oranmore in January 2013. In ten months I went from having never having run before to finishing the Dublin Marathon in 3 hours 52 minutes,” he revealed. Since then, John has taken part in many other races including Connemarathon, the Cork Marathon and last September ran in the Berlin Marathon, one of the Big Six marathons.

John’s inspirational story caught the attention of the Rock ’n’ Run judges and he is now competing to become the first Rock ’n’ Run Idol and win a trip to take part in Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas in October.

He joins five other finalists from Dublin, Clare, Meath and Down—all selected by an expert panel of judges who managed to narrow the wide pool of entries to six inspirational men and women. All six are currently training hard to take part in the Rock ’n’ Run Dublin Half Marathan and 10k race on August 7th. In its fourth year, this event also incorporates the National Half Marathon Championships which attracts the attention of thousands of runners throughout the country.

It features the best of local talent with live bands entertaining participants along the 13.1 mile course which starts in the Docklands in the centre of Dublin and finishes in the Phoenix Park.

But they are also battling it out in a public vote to become the first Rock ’n’ Run Idol and win that all expenses paid trip to take part in Rock ’n’ Roll Las Vegas.

John needs the backing of his home county—you can support him on his way to LA by logging on to and giving him your vote.