Meet the weight-loss runner using Newham as a canvas


Kayes Uddin runs around Newham to record designs on the fitness app Strava which keeps a visual record of users' routes. - Credit: Kayes Uddin/Strava

A man who was told he could die if he didn't lose weight is running the streets of Newham to create artworks.

Kayes Uddin has designed a shark attack in East Ham, penguin, trainer and more using an app which tracks and records his routes, which are displayed in red lines on a map.

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A shark attack in East Ham. - Credit: Kayes Uddin/Strava

The 40-year-old fitness fanatic said: "It's another way to keep fit. I love it. I challenge myself by running faster speeds while trying to memorise the routes.

"It gives me something to think about while I'm running."

Kayes added that roads around High Street South, East Ham, as well as in Plaistow and Boleyn ward, are particularly good for the designs which he then prints from the Strava app.

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Kayes has shed 17 stone since 2010. - Credit: Kayes Uddin

Since 2010, the father-of-three has shed 17 stone since medics told him he would not survive beyond two years unless he lost weight.

At that time, Kayes weighed 30 stone, his waist size ranged from 56 to 60 and his shirts were 70 to 72 inches across.

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Kayes said: "I had a lot of medical conditions. Doctors gave me two years. I had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver disease, borderline diabetes, asthma. I had it all, but it's all gone now."

Spurred on by the warning and need to still be around for his children - Fahim, 19, Farhan, 17, and 11-year-old Maisha - the council employee underwent gastric bypass surgery.

He then joined a gym and took up walking before progressing on to running. Since he started doing 5km runs his best time has dropped from 90 to 22 minutes.


The profile of a man's head recorded via the app as Kayes runs around East Ham. - Credit: Kayes Uddin/Strava

Kayes' designs start with a look at a map of Newham, although he admits that after years of pounding the borough's pavements and parks he is familiar with most of his "canvas".

"I can imagine [the route] in my head. Eventually, I want to create one of the biggest artworks by running a greater distance," he said.

The plan is to start with a 13 mile run before progressing on to a full marathon.

"My kids complain I run too much," he said. "But I enjoy it. It's a community as well - you get so much support," he explained.

Asked if his work could one day sell for millions, Kayes said: "You never know!"