Leading article: Running the gauntlet

It is that time of year again when the capital is transformed into a giant running track. Slogging round the 26.2 mile London Marathon course is quite a challenge at the best of times. But tomorrow's 36,000 runners will have to deal with some extra obstacles.

If they manage to avoid choking on the dust thrown up by the collapsing investment banks of Canary Wharf, evade the attentions of the baton-happy police of the City of London, dodge the protesting Tamils of Parliament Square, and leap over the potholes liberally sprinkled around town, these brave souls will be entitled to consider themselves true spiritual heirs of the original Marathon man, Pheidippides. Let us just hope we don't see any of the freezing rain we got last year.

The great Australian middle distance athlete Herb Elliot said: "The greatest stimulator of my running career was fear." If old Herb is right, expect some decent times tomorrow.