Runner's World talks to Steve Edwards, 48, the man who knows all there is to know about running the legendary 26.2 miles
"I ran my first marathon aged 18. It was my first-ever race: Coventry was holding its first marathon, and I had a bet with some mates to see if I could do it. I ended up finishing in 3:38 and I was over the moon, but the next day I could hardly walk. I had to come down the stairs backwards, that's how bad the backs of my legs were. I said, 'Never again.'
"I tried some shorter distances, but I wasn't as good. The following year I thought, 'I reckon I will try it again.' As I did more 26.2-milers and my times came down, I wondered if I could run multi-marathons. My first goal was to be the youngest person to run 100 marathons, which I achieved aged just 28. From there, it was all about setting myself more goals.
"I've got three moments that I'm very proud of. Running the most marathons in a year (87) is one - I had to fit the project around work; it was intense. I travelled all around Europe, running a marathon most weekends. My next big achievement was last year, when I set the best veteran time for 10 marathons in 10 days. I did the whole thing in 33 hours and 16 minutes. Then, last year I ran my 500th marathon.
"I find it fascinating what you can get your body to do. People say, 'Oh you'll never do that, you'll break down.' But I just think, 'How do you know?' You've got to try, so that's what I did.
"I love marathons because of the challenge. It's the ultimate athletic event and arguably the toughest. It trains you mentally and makes you stronger.
"I also enjoy the travelling. It gives me a taste of culture. My wife Teresa comes with me to every race and we sometimes incorporate them into our holidays.
"I want to keep setting records: my next goal is 500 3:30 marathons by 2012, but it's going to be tough."