Stevenage man who only took up running nine months ago completes his first marathon - after getting lost

Ian Alexander with his medal after completing the Fairlands Valley Challenge marathon.

Ian Alexander with his medal after completing the Fairlands Valley Challenge marathon. - Credit: Archant

A lot of people would probably give up if they got lost while running their first marathon.

But it did little to deter Ian Alexander when he completed his first 26.2-mile race around Stevenage.

He said: “It was a great run, even if I got lost a few times. We had directions and a map which sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t.”

Ian, 53, took 8hrs 42 mins to complete the Fairlands Valley Challenge – a cross country race which starts in Stevenage and tracks through villages across North Herts before returning to the town.

There were no marshals and runners had to navigate around the course independently, which, as Ian discovered, is a task in itself.

But obstacles have never deterred the house and pet sitter from achieving his goal.

He said: “It was absolutely brilliant. I was in tears and broke down when I got the medal around my neck.

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“It is definitely the biggest achievement I have had in my life and one of the proudest.”

By running the race, Ian raised more than £500 for the Royal Air Force Association – a charity which supports serving and former personnel and their families. This charity work is part of his 10-year plan to raise £100,000 for various good causes.

“I’m going to have the weekend off now and plan on starting running again on Thursday because I’ve got several more runs planned this year including the Standalone 10k in Letchworth and a half marathon in Peterborough,” he added.

With all these races planned you’d be forgiven for thinking that Ian had been jogging for years. But in actual fact the Stevenage man only took up the sport nine months ago.

He joined Fairland Valley Spartans running club last year after realising that he needed to lose weight.

Since joining, he’s gone from a bulky 18st 8lbs to a trim 12st 1lb and, by his own admission, totally transformed his life.

Ian is hoping to increase his donation to the Royal Air Force charity and is encouraging people to give generously.

To donate visit

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