'Anyone can do it' - tireless runner completes 200th marathon
PUBLISHED: 14:32 31 December 2019 | UPDATED: 14:32 31 December 2019
When Ian Odgers first ran a half marathon, he thought to himself "there's no way I could do that distance again".
Fast forward 15 years and the 51-year-old, from Dereham, has just achieved the herculean task of completing no less than 200 full marathons.
On Monday, Mr Odgers - who ran his first marathon in 2005 - was cheered on by friends and family as he conquered the Great Barrow Challenge in Suffolk.
He confesses it was far from his best effort, but his place in an exclusive club is secure.
"It wasn't so good after my Christmas indulgence, but to finally get to 200 just feels great," said Mr Odgers, whose 'Road to 200' raised money for Dementia UK.
"When you get to this stage as a marathon runner, nothing is the unknown any more. You know what is coming during a run and how to deal with it."
Mr Odgers' had planned to reach his double century at the 2020 London Marathon but, having not been accepted, he brought his target forward to the end of 2019.
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That meant running 25 marathons over the past five months, for which he was well trained after previously completing 100 marathons in as many weeks.
With another accomplishment under his belt, Mr Odgers reflects with immense pride and hopes others will follow in his footsteps.
"The overall response has been completely overwhelming," he added. "You realise with social media these days that you are inspiring people as well.
"I am just average Joe. I've got a job and I have health issues like anyone. People say 'I wish I could run a marathon' - I am proof that pretty much anyone can."
So what's next for the man who has run 26.2 miles in locations including Brazil, Jerusalem and the highest altitude in Europe?
A marathon across a frozen Norwegian lake is the immediate target, but Mr Odgers admits a rest is in order.
"I do intend to cut down - I'll probably keep doing one a month," he said.
"It involves so much travelling and time away from family, but then again we've raised money for some amazing charities.
"My first marathon will always be the most memorable. I'd do anything to get that feeling all over again."