Following a series of embarrassing incidents, Dorking Marathon has been forced to cancel this year. The final straw came yesterday when the last remaining sponsor United International Armament Suppliers withdrew their support saying, "We do not wish to be associated with this immoral and indecent activity."
Billed as "The Third Most Popular Marathon in the Near London Area", it regularly attracts up to 200 runners.
Previous sponsors Aunt Agatha's Gravy were banned from sponsoring this year's marathon, after a large number of scalding incidents during last year's race caused by stewards handing out cups of boiling hot gravy to runners instead of cold water. As a result, United International Armament Suppliers were also banned from distributing any of their products to competitors or spectators during the race.
There was further controversy about a number of fun-runners who were due to take part this year on mobility scooters. Dorking is the only major marathon in the UK which allows competitors to "run" the race in a mobility scooter. Critics say this distracts from the point of a marathon, which is to test the limits of endurance of the human body, not to sit down for three hours pressing a button.
In the past, Dorking Marathon has had other problems. It was the last marathon in the UK to allow foreign athletes to join, in 2008. It has also had issues in the past with traffic diversion - most notoriously in 2005 when the route led onto the M25 without there being any dividing barriers between the runners and oncoming traffic.
Dorking Marathon organiser Doris O'Pun said, "We're sorry about the cancellation this year. We're thinking of hiring the town hall next year so we can hold the marathon indoors, and avoid all these problems."