The crowds cheered, the sun shone and Ian Archer achieved the run of a lifetime when he crossed the finish line of the Bruges Marathon.

It was the 54-year-old’s first marathon and he also raised more than £560 for the charity Bowel & Cancer Research.

“It was really good. The crowd support was fantastic and it was well organised,” said Ian, who lives near Aberystwyth.

“Thankfully everything went right for me. I got ahead of the 4-hour pacer and thought I must be on target. I finished in 3hrs 54mins – I’m very happy with that.

It wasn’t easy but I didn’t hit a wall. I just kept the same pace. Everyone shouts your name and that keeps you going.

Ian’s wife Julie took her bike along to Belgium and kept up with him, along with two friends Lou Hardinge and Ailsa McWilliam.

His friends Simon French and Simon Warner were running the half-marathon at the same time and were there to cheer him at the finish.

“It gives you a real boost when you see someone you know and love in the crowd. It all helps,” said Ian.

He chose to support Bowel & Cancer Research because his younger sister Lynn Archer-Huntley lost her battle with bowel cancer in 2011 when she was just 42, leaving her husband and 11-year-old son.

“She was the most genuine, likeable person you could wish to meet,” said Ian.

“There were six children in our family and she made a real effort to keep us all in contact, even though we went our separate ways. 

She was always full of life and I like to remember the things we did as kids – cycling, running and playing in the park.

“I know Lynn would have been proud and happy if she’d been in Bruges. I had her name and picture on my jersey as a reminder of why I was doing this marathon. The whole family is proud.”

The trainer/teacher from Aberystwyth University says he’s not a runner.

It was watching the London Marathon that inspired him to don a pair of running shoes.

“I hope my efforts will raise awareness and fundraise for Bowel & Cancer Research so that soon some answers to this awful disease are found and people diagnosed in the future will have a chance,” he said.

Chief Executive of Bowel & Cancer Research Deborah Gilbert thanked Ian for his support.

It is devastating that Lynn lost her life at such a young age.

Our aim is to ensure that no one should die of bowel cancer in future and we can only do that with the help of our fantastic fundraisers,” she said.  

Anyone who wants to support Ian can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/ian-archer-marathon