THE path from food to fitness is a well-trodden one.

But Mauro Lazzati has navigated it better than most.

The personal trainer, who owned popular Italian restaurant Lazzati’s in Lewes, shed three and a half stone after taking up trail running.

The 43-year-old is now a veteran of five marathons –and he will be making it six in March.

“My mum used to tell me I had big bones,” he said.

“I still love my pasta but not during training. I mostly eat natural stuff and before a run it’s either a pint of tea, a pint of water or a pint of smoothie.

“I can last 16 to 18 miles without solids.”

Born in Varese, in the foothills of the Campo dei Fiori mountains, north-west Italy, Mauro grew up surrounded by hills.

He said: “When I was little, all I ever wanted to do was run in the hills, because it was quicker.

“I’m a hill man. We’ve got such an amazing playground around us.”

But about seven years ago, Mauro stepped on the scales and found he weighed 17 and a half stone.

His wife had recently given birth to the couple’s second daughter, Lexi, and the all-consuming demands of childcare were having an effect on his waistline.

He said: “You just put weight on without thinking about it, and it makes everything more difficult.

“But then a friend who was doing a Race For Life event pulled out and I took his place. I got into it to the point where I wanted to run marathons.

“I really started to enjoy the logistics of it. When I want to do something, I do it properly.”

He entered the Brighton Marathon, doing all his training on the treadmill in the gym.

But when the group behind the Moyleman invited him for a 22-mile run in the Downs, it was love at first sight.

He said: “I was absolutely dead by the end of it but I ran the 2015 Moyleman in three hours, 51 minutes and the following year I was already training people up for it.”

He now weighs 14 stone, having dropped from a size 58 to a size 42.

Since Lazzati’s restaurant closed in 2016, Mauro has been running a cafe by the same name in the Southdown Sports Club, near Lewes Priory ruins.

He also works on site as a personal trainer but he still finds time for those early morning runs.

He said: “This will be my fourth Moyleman and I’m really looking forward to trying out a slightly different style. I’m going to start even quicker this time.”