Thursday, 14 February 2008 people who have run a marathon

Pheidippides : A Greek messenger who started the fad when he ran to the Spartans to seek their help defend Greece against the Persians, encamped out on a plain called Marathon. After delivering the message, legend says he dropped dead.

Will Ferrell : Completed at the Boston Marathon in 4:02. Also did the New York marathon with his wife, taking an hour extra.

Sir Jimmy Savile : Britain's first DJ, who has also been a book reviewer, motorcycle racer and wrestler. Claims to have run 102 marathons.

Jorg Haider: The polished far right politician and Nazi apologist from Austria sees himself in the mold somebody patriotic yet progressive. Still he needed a phalanx of bodyguards when he ran the New York Marathon, under threats from Brooklyn's Jewish community.

Sean Coombs aka Puff Daddy : Puffed his way over the finish line of the New York Marathon at 11,359th place, with a 4:15 time.

Nick Leeson : Against medical advice, and despite bleeding profusely while he trained, the former Barings Bank rogue trader who caused the greatest financial bankrupcy in history succeeded in completing the London Marathon while in remission from bowel cancer. As if breaking one record wasn't enough for Nick.

Alistair Campbell : Tony Blair's chief communications strategist and spin doctor (until the David Kelly affair) ran the London Marathon in 3:53 to raise money for leukaemia research.

Phil Selway : The Radiohead drummer completed the London Marathon in about four an a half hours, raising twenty thousand pounds for the Samaritans. Perhaps he was being chased by Thom Yorke in a red Cadillac.

Oprah Whitney : Did the Marine Corps Marathon in 1994 in 4:29. When she started training she weighed 222 pounds.

Brenda Blethyn : British Shakespearean actress did the London Marathon in her mid fifties.

Mikulas Dzurinda : The Prime Minister of Slovenia ran marathons in New York (3:42) and London (3:36), but in 1986 he achieved a personal best of 2:55.

Sir Ranulph Fiennes : Britain's last explorer, who did the world's first polar circumnavigation, discovered the lost city of Ubar in Oman in 1992], and has made several journies to all parts of the globe. In 2003, five months after receiving a heart attack and battling jet lag, 59 year old Sir Randulph succeeding in running seven marathons in seven days on seven continents (if you count the Falkland Islands as part of Antarctica).

Kim Hyun Hee : Each day during her training to become a North Korean spy, Kim was required to run the equivalent of a marathon in a mountain range.

George W. Bush : Peeved that his father failed to remain president, George took to training for a marathon to work out his frustrations. He tried too hard too quickly and got sick as a result, but after easing back he eventually managed to run a full marathon in 3:44.

Al Gore : Got a time less than Dubya's and was quite eager to explain why this was so:

I did a 4:58 marathon in 1997. Technically Bush has done 3:44, but that was a PR for him in '93, and he keeps getting older. So I think we're pretty evenly matched at this point. To be honest, I could have finished faster, but I got a little confused at the twenty mile mark. I paused for water and to have a short nap and when I came to there were secret service agents and paramedics on me. I had to knock them out of the way to finish the race ahead of my daughters. I'm not going to let that happen to me again. The future will be better tomorrow, rather than in the past.

times rounded to the nearest minute

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