Victor Meldrew lives!! This letter was sent to the Telegraph by a Richard Stephen of London SW1 after the London Marathon of a few years back. Don't think he'll be entering future marathons, somehow!! ANOTHER CRINGE MAKING LONDON MARATHON SIR – Thank goodness the London Marathon (report Apr. 23) is over for another year. The event has become unutterably tiresome, a populist despoilment of genuine athletic achievement. The true marathon specialists, with their modest acceptance of success and their quiet determination, are easily distinguished from the loud, bragging part timers. The latter are the ones with the least to shout about, but, this being modern Britain, they are naturally the ones we hear from the most. With their clowning costumes, puerile glee and execrable stunts (which this year, God help us, included a mid marathon wedding taken by some fool of a bishop), they thrust their sweaty ambition into our faces and television camera lenses. The media feebly go along with this, mistakenly celebrating marathon running as a symbol of democracy at its most recreational. It is not. It is the dilution of sporting excellence and the desire of the jogging classes to impose themselves on the capital and its residents. These suburban bullies, supertoned, food fad maniacs, scorn the slothful, the greedy, the bookish and the dissolute. Let them be assured the loathing is returned in spades. There are plenty of us who are proud never to have stepped foot in a training shoe, let alone a municipal sports hall. Give me Radio 3, a bottle of red, a plump armchair and a bag of Maltesers any day. The health benefits of long-distance running are open to question. All this preaching about exercise being the route to long life and happiness is highly dubious. Have you noticed how many joggers die young (not including those mown down by traffic)? It is the general air of silliness and ‘’happiness is compulsory’’ that is most disgusting about modern marathons – idiots in Disney costumes. ‘’wits’’ running in tandem and virtually unknown ‘’celebrities’’. Disabled participants are treated in a patronising way, a case of ‘’ahhh, ain’t they wonderful?’’, and are then promptly forgotten about until the next marathon or Paralympics. Palpably unfit and overweight runners are encouraged to ‘’believe in themselves’’ and take part, often at a ludicrously slow walk. Yes, thousands of pounds are allegedly raised for ‘‘charidee’’, but there are plenty of us who would sponsor people not to run.