A Kettering teacher who entered a marathon as a joke has gone from being a non-runner to completing two iconic races.
Nicole Andrews, vice principal at Compass Primary Academy, surprised her husband by entering the London Marathon earlier this year.
She completed the race in just over five hours and raised £1,500 for a charity that supports bereaved children.
Nicole said: "My husband had applied for the London Marathon five years in a row without success but heard a rumour that on the sixth time you automatically get a place. I applied as a joke to surprise him as I thought we could train together. I got in and he didn’t!
"During the last week in November I went out for my first mile and thought “I can’t do this!” so to go from there to do the marathon was a huge achievement.
"I joined Corby Marvels running group and they were phenomenal. Running just takes over your life. I would get up at 5am at the weekend to do a long run and by the time I got to April I was running 20 miles straight.
"On marathon day as soon as I got to the start line I thought, 'oh my gosh, I am actually doing this...'
"It was a wonderful feeling! The crowd was encouraging and I remember sprinting down the home straight. I stopped before I got to the finish line, took a photo then walked across. There was an overwhelming feeling of emotion.
"When I saw my husband I was so elated and just buzzing. My sister, friends and colleagues have said I have inspired them to start running and they have signed up for the ballot for next year."
The Kettering teacher did not stop there and earlier this month took on the Great North Run, a half-marathon on a hilly course with narrow roads.
She said: "It is still an amazing atmosphere and my sister who helped me train for the marathon did it with me. We made a pact we would do it together as we trained for the marathon together. It was lovely and when we got to the finish line there was a beautiful choir singing so I was really emotional.
"It was because it was the run I always wanted to do. I always watched it on the television and thought it was an amazing thing to be a part of."
But what next for Nicole?
She said: "I have always been driven and I am thinking about climbing Snowdonia for my next challenge.
"I have always been a person who does something and then says 'what next?'
"This year has taught me that that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!"