A WORLD record-breaking marathon runner will take part in next year’s Stirling Scottish Marathon as he eyes his next major milestone.

Steve Edwards clocked up his 800th marathon at the Birmingham International Marathon last weekend, setting a new world record for the fastest average time for 800 official 26.2mile events.

The 54-year-old completes marathons at an average pace of 3 hours and 19 minutes and, despite a late injury scare, the IT worker from Coventry came in within his target of 3.15-3.20 in Birmingham, completing the inaugural marathon in 3.19.39.

Nicknamed ‘The Machine’, Steve runs an average of a marathon a week – and is now targeting a new challenge of reaching 1,000 marathons by the time he is 60.

To do that, he would to maintain his one-marathon-per-week rhythm - and the inspirational runner, who now lives in Gloucestershire, has signed up for the Stirling Scottish Marathon on Sunday, 29 April 2018 to help him achieve his goal.

Steve began his marathon journey in 1981 and has taken on events around the world, and is looking forward to experience all the scenic marathon in Stirling has to offer, with its city centre start and finish set against a jaw-dropping Scottish backdrop.

He said: “I always say it’s a great way to do a bit of sightseeing. We’ve driven through Stirling but never seen the city on foot. It will be fantastic from that point of view.

“I’ve done plenty of Scottish marathons, but Stirling has never had one until 2017 so it’ll be great to get up and do that.

“I’m looking forward to it, it’s a new city to run in with lots of historic landmarks, it will be a sightseeing tour to remember.”

In 2017, Stirling’s first-ever marathon reached capacity months before the event, with 6,500 people signing up for the 26.2mile run through the Stirlingshire countryside in May.

Following constructive feedback from the runners, a new and improved course has been designed which will showcase the beautiful scenery and historic landmarks of central Scotland.

Starting and finishing in the centre of Stirling, the Gateway to the Highlands, runners will make their way into the Stirlingshire countryside, past the Blair Drummond Safari Park, through Doune, Dunblane and Bridge of Allan, before completing a circuit of the University of Stirling’s campus in the shadow of the historic Wallace Monument.

Another new section of the course will feature the stunning scenery of Clackmannanshire as you enter Blairlogie, beneath the imposing cliff of Dumyat, then back towards Stirling itself, passing through the city centre where thousands turned out in 2017 to cheer the 6,500 runners on, with a brand new finish area in King’s Park, in view of the magnificent Stirling Castle.

With marathons popping up in cities around the United Kingdom, Steve no longer has to travel far to get his running fix – and is impressed by the amount of people now taking on the classic, iconic distance.

“When I first started there was a running boom in the 1980s which started a few big-city marathons, but that gradually died off towards the end of the decade,” he explained. “I had to go abroad a lot more to do marathons.

“In one particular year I wanted to do the most in a year to get the record, I was travelling abroad every single weekend, and that’s the way it had to be done. In the last four or five years, even in the last couple of years, it has grown so much.

“You can run one or two a week now – and these events fill up. That’s the remarkable thing. There’s more people running and a lot more marathons.”

To sign up for the Stirling Scottish Marathon, visit greatrun.org/Stirling