Marathon Queen Melanie Sturman looking to make Mega Marathon List
Thetford runner Melanie Sturman recently completed her 250th marathon and she spoke to Mark Armstrong about what she's looking to do next
For most people running one marathon during your lifetime is enough.
For others it becomes an obsession with people prepared to put in months of training all in the hope of shaving off a few minutes, seconds even, from their personal best.
Then there are people like Melanie Sturman, for whom marathon running is not just a hobby, it's a way of life for the 49-year-old.
Melanie, from Thetford, completed her 250th marathon earlier this month at Kingston-upon-Thames. The fact that she only started running marathons just over eight years ago makes the achievement even more remarkable.
Thoughts of taking it a bit easier having reached the 250 landmark are on the backburner though.
Melanie, a registered general nurse who specialises in moving and handling, now has her eyes set on adding her name to the Mega Marathon List where to have a chance to add your name you have to have completed at least 300.
Most runners have goals they are working towards, some are just a bit more ambitious than others.
"I've still got goals that I want to chase down - I'd love to be able to get on the Mega Marathon List by the time I'm 50 - that would be a really good birthday present."
Melanie took to running aged 40 when, beset with health problems, she decided she needed to get more active.
It changed her outlook and within a few months she had gained a place at the London Marathon in 2011, which after only such a short time taking up the sport, didn't exactly go to plan.
But she got through it and the running bug had well and truly sunk its teeth into her. By the end of the year she had another one under her belt, completing the Liverpool Marathon.
But it was on Merseyside that something else piqued her interest. After seeing another runner with a '100 Marathon Club' T-shirt she knew what she had to do.
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She was going through a divorce at the time and running gave Melanie an outlet from the stress of that break-up whilst the target of reaching 100 marathons gave her a sense of purpose.
"Between 2014 and 2016 I went through a marriage break-up and during that time I did 100 marathons in 96 weeks.
"It helped me work through a lot of things and it has been a huge mental saviour for me.
"Running has given time to myself to deal with stress and anxiety, which is great, especially when you have quite a stressful job as well.
"But when I passed the 100 marathon mark I thought that 250 sounded like a good number and I started to work towards that."
The 250 number will hopefully become 260 within the next week with Melanie currently undertaking the Great Barrow Challenge of 10 marathons in as many days.
It will be the sixth time she has achieved the feat and she will be the only woman to have done so.
Melanie is proof that if you put your mind to something and are prepared to overcome the physical and mental obstacles placed in front of you then you can make it happen.
You would perhaps think that Melanie's body is purely conditioned to run marathons but she has had to work round issues to ensure she stayed on course, literally sometimes.
"I'm not a natural runner - I found out when I was 45 that I actually have a knee disorder and I have to tape it up for every race to stop it popping out," she said.
"That's why I enjoy running though - we all have things we have to overcome but if you want to do something badly enough then you find a way to do it.
"Because I've had quite a few health problems there are times that I've woken up and thought 'No, I'm not doing it today'.
"If I don't want to do it then I won't - if your mind isn't into it then you're best off trying again another day."