The 2008 Flora London Marathon starts on Sunday in the heart of the capital, and, all being well, will finish the same day, thanks to the event's organisers who have banned slower runners from competing.
Many runners in the yearly event are seasoned marathon specialists, and countless others are regular joggers who can just about manage to struggle around the challenging course. Many, however, are, what can be best described as, an absolute embarrassment, and will be tolerated no longer.
Although the race is run primarily for charity, organisers have become fed up with individuals who turn up in chicken suits or as Chewbacca carrying a foam mallet, just to get themselves noticed on TV. Serious runners have complained that these 'competitors' devalue the event and give it an 'unprofessional look'.
Last year, 125 of those taking part didn't finish the race until the next day, with one runner still missing to this day. All of these were 'fancy dress fun runners'.
Even Paula Radcliffe, the British Olympian, disgraced herself in the Athens Olympic Marathon in 2004, when she turned up and ran as a Crying Baby.
Marge Spread, a spokesman for sponsors Flora, said:
"The Marathon is a serious race, and we have a tight schedule to keep to. There'll be no more stupid fun runners or fancy dress parades. Keep your sponsorship money coming though."