"It's not pretty," Wagner says. "People, they do look at you. They see a heavy person."
That all changed when she found a passion for running about three years ago. Now, this Rocky Mount woman has crossed multiple marathon finish lines.
"It was very difficult. You lose fast starting out and when it slows down you get discouraged," Wagner says. "It's hard to stick with it and you fall back into your old patterns. You have to find a balance. This time, I have found that."
Penny runs daily and has lost 110 pounds so far. She says she used to struggle for breath just walking down a hallway. Now, she's completed a 100k race: that's more than 62 miles. She plans to run more than 75 miles in 24 hours this Saturday.
She hopes her story will encourage others.
"You get discouraged easy," Wagner says. "You have to come to a point where you get over that and not beat yourself down when you have a mess up. I have mess ups, I still do that."
She says the support from the community in Rocky Mount, like the Crooked Road running group, and has made all the difference.
"It has helped to keep me motivated when I was down," Wagner says.
Penny's even competing in Runwell's 'Perspire to Inspire' contest, where she could win the entry fee to a race of her choice and airfare for free.
She hopes her success can inspire others who are still struggling with weight loss. She says if she can to do, you can do it too.
You can vote for Penny's video here.