20–21 Jan 2024 41 days to go! #RunShow Tickets

Melanie Furness

What do you do when you turn 40? I decided to run a marathon in 2011. London marathon was my first marathon and I have now completed over 200 marathons raising over £10,000 for Headway, Heart UK and BackCare. I was size 16 with a diagnosis of high blood pressure. Since I have started running I have dropped 2 dress sizes and now have normal blood pressure.
During 2014-2016 I managed to complete 100 marathons in 96 weeks. For me this is significant because during this time my ex husband had a stroke and I nursed him back to health. After he got better our marriage failed and I lost my home and my confidence. Running was my medicine and helped me cope with depression. I did not need any anti-depressants and now I am strong enough to rebuild my life.
I founded Thetford parkrun in 2013 and have almost 4000 people registered. I have encouraged and supported people from couch to marathon distances. I founded Thetford marathon in 2015 and now race direct an annual event. I regularly volunteer at local races and support other people of all abilities to run.
I am currently the only female runner to complete the Great Barrow Challenge 10 marathons in 10 days four times and aim to retain my title in 2018 with a 5th event. I have won 4 awards for running, 2015, Pride in Breckland Outstanding Contribution to Sport, 2015, Stars of Norfolk and Waveney, Outstanding Sporting Achievement, 2016 Thetford Achieving Recognition Award for Sport and 2018 Thetford Achieving Recognition Award for parkrun volunteers.
What are my future goals? To be first local woman to volunteer 200 times at a parkrun, complete final 3 World Major Marathons to become a 6 star finisher and complete 300 marathons all before I am 50 in 2020.