Nine years ago, Mandy Draper had not so much as entered a running race.

So 101 completed marathons and a near fatal road collision later, and it’s fair to say she now has quite the story to tell.

When on May 26th she crossed the line in the Rock 'n' Roll Liverpool Marathon, in a time of three hours 56 minutes (3:56), it was the culmination of a searing ambition to run a century of marathons. An ambition that began only moments after the then 48-year-old completed her first in Llanelli in 2013.

“It was like a dream come true,” she told Telegraph Sport.

“There were times I didn’t think I’d get there so I was very emotional. This had been a big goal of mine for a long time.”

Her achievement is all the more remarkable when you consider that at the age of 40 she was a regular smoker, unhealthy, and certainly couldn’t boast a sporting background.

“In school I hated anything to do with exercise. What changed things was getting older and realising I was getting out of breath easily and needed to be healthier.

“So I gave up smoking and started going to the gym. I attended classes and started meeting people and I loved it from there.”

Initially that led to cycling but then came the running craze, and soon she had a string of marathons to her name when in 2015, she decided to treat herself to a birthday ‘present’.

“I entered Ironman Wales for my 50th and did a lot more marathons in the build up to that, with a personal best of 3:39. But I couldn’t swim, in fact I was pretty scared of the water, so I joined the Tenby Aces and have been a member ever since.

“It was doing sessions in the sea with them which allowed me to do Ironman.”

She duly became an Ironman but then in October 2016, came a life changing incident.

Whilst out cycling, Mandy was involved in a head on collision with a car and air lifted to Morriston Hospital with serious injuries – a broken back, ribs, and wrist, as well as head wounds and a punctured lung.

She then underwent a major back operation and was told there was no guarantees the procedure would enable her to run or even walk again.

But miraculously she recovered, and less than 12 months later was racking up 26.2 miles again in Birmingham.

“All my family there and that was a very emotional day,” she admitted.

“From being told I could be paralysed to being back running marathons felt amazing and made me even more determined to reach 100.”

She got closer to that number last year when she ran the Wales Marathon in Tenby and as a show of gratitude, did so dressed in Air Ambulance kit whilst carrying a bucket to raise funds for the service.

Less than a year later and her century came up in Liverpool, but there wasn’t much time to celebrate as less than a week later she was chalking off No 101 – travelling to Luxembourg for a ‘night’ marathon.

And the now 54-year-old, who lives in Pembroke, has no plans to slow down.

“I might not do the marathons as regularly as I have been but I’ll definitely be carrying on.

“My next target is Tenby again in July. I can’t miss that one.”