Most people wouldn’t dream of tacking a 26-mile marathon less than a year after starting running.

But that’s exactly what Ian Alexander, who lives in Stevenage, will be doing next Sunday.

It’s been less than nine months since the 53-year-old put on his running shoes and in that time he’s come a long way. He’s gone from an overweight 18st 8lbs to a trim 12st 1lb and, by his own admission, totally transformed his life.

He said: “I was fat and ugly and needed to lose weight so I started running. I knew I needed to change.”

Ian joined Stevenage-based Fairlands Valley Spartans late last year and instantly fell in love with the sport.

He admits he’s not the fastest runner, but Spartans coaches trained him to build up from short distances at slow paces to much longer ones.

His determination has put him in good stead, and he successfully completed a half marathon in Welwyn in March. He now hopes to go further next weekend with the off road Fairlands Valley Challenge, which is run by the club.

He said this week: “I hated running at school but I found a real love for it when I started getting into it.

“It’s helps me reach my passion of raising money for charity. I’m planning on raising £100,000 for good causes in 10 years and have so far raised more than £5,000.”

Nick Whitcombe runs at the club and has helped train Ian. He said: “He’s done really well.

“When he joined the club he started completely from scratch but he was determined to succeed and he has done.

“I haven’t seen many more determined people than him.

“Not many people could enter a marathon after only a few months of running but Ian is so determined he is going to show everyone that he can do it.”

Ian is supporting the Royal Air Force Association – a charity which supports serving and former servicemen and their families – with this run. To donate visit