Marathon effort: City woman, Karen, completes 100 mega runs

Karen Doak, from Norwich, who has run 100 marathons. Picture: Danielle Booden

Karen Doak, who lives in Heathside Road, has run 100 marathons. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Just over ten years ago Karen Doak laced up her running shoes and began training for her first marathon. 

Now, 12 years on from her 2010 debut, the marathon and ultra-marathon runner has completed 100 of the gruelling races – and she’s got the medals to show it.  

The Heathside Road woman began running for fitness, explaining: "I didn't do any exercise until my early 30s and felt like I needed to do something to keep fit. 

Karen Doak has travelled all over the country for her marathons, as well as to Spain and France. Picture: Danielle Booden

Karen Doak has travelled all over the country for her marathons, as well as to Spain and France. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

"My partner Paul really inspired me to take up running back in 2009. In 2010 I started training for my first marathon. 

"It was both scary and daunting to start with as I'd never run that distance before - it was a big jump from the 10Ks I'd been doing. I learned a lot about marathon running that day." 

But Karen’s running really kicked up a notch in 2013 when she entered herself for six races in a 12-month period. 

Karen Doak has amassed over 200 medals in total from all her running events. Picture: Danielle Booden

Karen Doak has amassed over 200 medals in total from all her running events. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

The sports therapist said: "I was hooked.  

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“Since then as well as the normal 26.2 mile runs, I've also completed eight 100-mile marathons and a 220-mile continuous run across Scotland - which took me around 86 hours to complete. 

"That was my favourite experience - it was incredible.” 

Her dreams have been hamstrung before: "I tried it the year before but got injured which really upset me - so I was even more determined to finish it.” 

Some of the trophies and awards won by Karen Doak, from Heathside Road, who has run 100 marathons. Picture: Danielle Booden

Some of the trophies and awards won by Karen Doak, from Heathside Road, who has run 100 marathons. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

Courtesy of a combination of marathons, ultra-marathons, triathlons and Iron Man challenges, Karen has now run roughly upwards of 20,000 miles. 

And her passion has also taken her across the world, competing in cities such as Valencia, Madrid, Barcelona and Paris.  

Karen, who lives in NR1, completed her milestone marathon on April 10 in Scotland on the island of Arran.

She’s also not slowing down any time soon: "I've got quite a lot lined up in the future, with my next run in June, travelling the whole of the Pennine Way - 268 miles. 

"Everyone is capable of doing a marathon - it's an immense feeling when you finish." 

Karen Doak, from Heathside Road, said: ""Everyone is capable of doing a marathon." Picture: Danielle Booden

Karen Doak, from Heathside Road, said: ""Everyone is capable of doing a marathon." - Credit: Danielle Booden

How to train for your first marathon

Marathon expert Karen had many tips for runners who aren’t as experienced as she is.  

She said: "First of all, don't start off too quickly, start slowly and with small runs. 

"Lots of people make the mistake of going out to run a 10K - getting too tired or injuring themselves and then never running again. 

"Something like a couch to 5K are brilliant to set you off on the right foot.” 

She added: "Looking after yourself by eating and drinking plenty over the course of a run is also really important. 

"Eating and drinking little and often works well for long distance runs especially.  

"A lot of running is mind games with yourself - you have to tell yourself you can keep going - have some food and you'll feel better."