'My Olympic diet A pasty a day!' Meet the Greggs employee gunning for marathon gold by running to work and eating pasties
Sri Lankan Olympic marathon runner Anuradha Cooray works in Aylesbury, BuckinghamshireNeeds to eat up to 6,000 calories a day to fuel his training
19:57 GMT, 24 July 2012
George Osbourne's proposed pasty tax would have been a devastating blow to one Olympic athlete.
Anuradha Cooray, a marathon runner and full-time employee of Greggs The Bakers in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, has revealed the secret to his Olympic success story: a daily pasty fix.
The Sri Lankan father of two, known to his friends as Cooray, trains for his marathon dash by running 17 miles to and from work every day, and eating a pasty when he gets there.
Run, Cooray, run! Olympian Anuradha Cooray steams ahead of the competition at Bearbrook Running Club's annual 10k road race in 2011
The 34-year-old runner, who has 18-month-old twins, said: 'I have a pasty a day. I enjoy the breakfast rolls from Greggs and also the baguettes, in particular the chicken baguettes.'
Cooray works as a Retail Team Member in the Aylesbury branch of the
baker's, serving customers, making sandwiches and baking savoury
As a marathon runner he must consume between 5,000 and 6,000 calories a day, and chooses to do most of his eating while at work.
He admits to loving Greggs food,
confessing that he eats food from his workplace three times a day: a
bacon bacon breakfast roll for breakfast, a Mexican chicken baguette for
lunch, and either a chicken curry pasty or a 'spicy one' pasty for
dinner, as part of his daily calorie intake.
'My Olympic diet secret I eat a pasty a day!' Meet the Greggs employee who trains by running to and from work and eating pasties
Mr Cooray told MailOnline: 'The pasties definitely help me train. I can't eat enough.
'I'm from Sri Lanka and I love spicy food – the chicken curry pasty and the 'spicy one' are perfect for me.'
assist him with his training, the runner's employers gave him four
weeks of special paid leave, to enable him to take his training up to
over 90 miles a week.
Mr Cooray won gold medal at the South Asian Games in Pakistan in 2004 with a personal best of 2hrs 16mins.
automatically qualified for the Olympics in April when he finished the
London Marathon within 10 seconds of the qualifying standard.
He was the third Brit to finish the race, and was overall placed 22nd.
Hungry for gold: 'The pasties definitely help me train. I can't get enough'
Colleagues at the Greggs branch in
Buckinghamshire had no idea how good he was until he told them he had
qualified for the Olympics and was featured on a BBC radio news
The Olympian said
'I am very proud to be one of just three athletes representing Sri
Lanka in the Olympic games, it feels like I’ve won a medal already!'
When asked what he would be eating during his stay in the Olympic Village, Mr Cooray said: 'There isn't a Greggs
in the Olympic Village but there's one close by at Westfield.
'The village serves
food from all over the world so I will be having spicy food, curry and
rice, as well as popping into Greggs too when I can.'
Ken McMeikan, Greggs' Chief Executive, said: 'It's fantastic to have one of our staff competing in the Olympics.
'We are so proud of Cooray and everyone at Greggs is behind him and cheering him on.'
Bright spark: Ken McMeikan, chief executive of Greggs, carries the Olympic Torch through Penrith
Mr McMeikan himself contributed to the Olympic effort in another way: by carrying the Olympic torch.
The CEO was nominated as one of the Olympic torchbearers for encouraging 20,000 Greggs colleagues and other like-minded business leaders to do more to support others in their local communities.
He was behind the companies’ decision to safeguard over 100 jobs in Penrith last year, with the opening of the brand new 4.5m confectionery bakery in the region.
Last year, on behalf of HRH Prince of Wales, he led a delegation of business leaders from around the UK to witness the positive impact businesses can have on communities through breakfast club schemes.
Greggs supports more than 190 primary school Breakfast Clubs nationwide – donating 250,000 each year to provide a free, nutritious breakfast every day to over 9,000 primary school children in areas of social deprivation.
Mr McMeikan has also set up skills training, work experience and employment opportunities for young people struggling to find work, homeless people and ex-offenders.
Last year, he took to the streets of Scotland in a kilt, busking for BBC Children In Need, where Greggs raised a record 1m for the charity.
Ken McMeikan, chief executive at Greggs, said: “It is such an honour to be nominated alongside so many local heroes who are doing amazing things to support people in their communities, I am truly humbled”
HOW TO EAT LIKE AN OLYMPIC MARATHON RUNNER (who works at Greggs)
Bacon roll: 315 calories, 1.60
Mexican baguette: 315 calories, 2.95
Chicken pasty: 394 calories, 1.10