The whole idea of sponsoring someone to run seems a bit odd to many South Africans. If, at a dinner party, you asked around, you would find that many had done marathons and ultra marathons. Just in my poker group there is a guy who runs a half marathon a month, and has done 10 or 12 marathons; another who did the latest Cape Epic (an 8 day 900km mountain bike race); another who regularly runs 20km+ on the mountain; a fourth who is training for some daft long distance canoe race... The locals go in for their endurance sports: there is a field of something like 15,000 for this year's Comrades marathon (90km). In the UK, meanwhile, people are still vaguely impressed by marathon runners.
Still, it's almost required of a London marathon runner to be sponsored: more than three quarters of runners are collecting for somebody, and many running it in fancy dress, as if it wasn't hard enough anyway. The total amount raised by runners in the race is somewhere north of £46 million. It's the largest single annual fundraising even in the world. There are 750 charities with 15,000 places for runners, of which I have got one of the Red Cross's ones, in return for pledging to raise £1800.
All of this is a thinly disguised hint to sponsor me. I'll be posting soon on the work that the Red Cross does worldwide as well, so you can see some really good reasons for forking out. It's also not like this is a regular thing for me - this my first marathon, so take pity on a 40 year old virgin!