Mother and grandmother from Whaplode St Catherine plans ahead after running 52 marathons in 52 weeks in the year she turned 52
A mum-of-six from Whaplode St Catherine has achieved her own "personal challenge" of running 52 marathons in 52 weeks to mark her 52nd birthday.
Diane Morris, who also has three grandchildren, reached the milestone at the Newark Showground Christmas Challenge where she also ran her 53rd marathon this year for good measure.
A Member of Halmer Harriers Community Running Club, Diane has also raised more than £4,000 so far for Cumbria-based charity Brathay Trust which helps young people struggling with behavioural, mental health and personal issues.
Diane said: "I saw the challenge as one where it was now or never because of my 52nd birthday this year.
"I'd already got my place for Brathay 10in10, ten marathons in ten days during May, so all the preparation was already in place.
"Although I didn't train specifically to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, I'd built my miles up and done all the strength and conditioning I need anyway.
"Yet right from the start, I had that doubt where I asked myself 'Can I do it?' and there were quite a few times, when I had to get up early to got to a race that started at 8.30am, that I thought 'I'm not sure I'm going to get through this'".
"But what helped me was the approach of focusing on the day I was on, then tick it off and think about the next one."
Diane, who also celebrated her 30th wedding anniversary in August this year with husband Rob, only started running nine years ago when she entered the Great Eastern Half Marathon (now the Perkins Great Eastern Run in Peterborough) to raise money for a playgroup her children attended.
In 2010, she ran her first-ever marathon in Nottingham and added her first ultra-marathon (any race longer than the official marathon distance of 26 miles, 385 yards) in 2014.
Diane, who now works as a specialist sales advisor at a shop for running and triathlon in Peterborough,said: "There are two sides to running 52 marathons in 52 weeks.
"I have friends who also did Brathay 10in10, some who were doing their 300th or 400th career marathon and some who were doing a silly amount of marathons this year.
"Then there are those friends who are just gobsmacked that I did it all.
"But the important thing for me was just knowing that people were there supporting me, like my husband and family, Halmer Harriers, the '10in10-ers' and even my physio from Brathay 10in10."
Now Diane has her sights set on three city marathons next year, London, Paris and New York, along with another Brathay10in10 in May 2019.
She said: "There are few aches and pains but I've got through it quite injury free and a lot of that is because I spent a lot of time in the gym.
"Doing the 52 in 52 does put a huge amount of strain on your body.
"But if I start a race, I want to finish it and I'd have to be seriously injured to drop out."
Diane wants her experience, with another marathon to come in Surrey this weekend, to encourage others to put some running shoes on and try the hobby out.
She said: "I'm nothing special so if I can run 52 marathons this year, anyone can - if they want to.
"Just go out and give running a go because you'll never know until you give it a try.
"Also, if by me running around Lake Windermere a few times can help Brathay Trust in turning young people's lives around, it has to be worth it."
Beth Morris, Diane's daughter, said: "When Mum said she was going to run 52 marathons in 52 weeks, the obvious question to ask was 'Why?’
"Mum's response was: 'Well I'm going to be 52 this year so I thought why not?’
"To know someone who is such an inspiration to so many people is a wonderful thing.
"But to be able to call that person your mum is just out of this world."