DIARY: AMV's marathon man never puts foot wrong with Economist poster

When the sun is shining, what better way to spend a Sunday than embarking on the gruelling 26-mile (and 385-yard) hike of the Flora London Marathon.

While 500,000 opted to cheer on from the sidelines, numerous advertising people entered the fray. "It was like a war zone,

one says, marvelling at the endless sea of plastic mats supporting numerous chilled posteriors.

But the event was quite unnerving for some first-timers. "It was disconcerting seeing all these men rubbing Vaseline into every single moving part of their body - right there in public with their pants down at eight o'clock in the morning,

a startled Graham Bednash, of Michaelides & Bednash, recalls.

Others were old hands. John Blakemore from GlaxoSmithKline ran for Youth Sports Trust in his fifth - yes, couch potatoes, fifth - marathon. "Thankfully I overtook three rhinos and came in with a 4 hours, 58 minutes time. After my first marathon I said: 'Never again'. I said the same for the next three and I'm still saying it this year."

And Martin Hummel, from Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, is no stranger to the pain barrier either. "I've done three London and some New York marathons,

he says. But this year he wins the gold star for raising no less than £10,000 for the agency charity, The Big House. Still, once an adman, always an adman, and he ran the race wearing a poster for The Economist which said "Keep Up".

Still, many found it quite depressing to be overtaken by Wombles, rhinos, Big Bird, the Pink Panther and the whole gamut of children's cartoon characters.

Other runners included Tim Ashton and McKinsey's William Eccleshare, who says: "The crowd was amazing and I felt like a sporting hero. I ran it in 3.49 and raised £8,000 for Whizz Kidz. Yes, I had to wear a cap with wings, but it fell off somewhere."

Lowe Live's managing partner, Ian Taylor, managed 4.00, but Paddy Hall wins the prize for the quickest, cruising in at a heady 2.51. Give the man a cigar.

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