April 25, 2001: QUESTION - what have around 20,000 people achieved suddenly in the last week that only a very small handful of people ever achieved in the preceding 20 years?

They all crossed the finishing line ahead of Steve Redgrave. But one BBC commentator pointed out that to achieve this they had all needed to train hard for months at something which most of them were already fairly proficient at, just to finish the London Marathon.

Notice how they all asked, not after their total time, but had they beaten the Olympic Wonder.

What was remarkable about Steve and Ann's achievement last Sunday was that they took a sharp change of discipline to participate and they had virtually

no opportunities for training in the last few months.

OK, they cheated a bit, they were both fit to start with, and nobody remembered to tell them that they were supposed to look completely done in at the end.

If you haven't already registered your support by signing a sponsor form in one of the local shops, you can still contribute to several children's causes through the umbrella of Steve's charitable foundation. A big star demands a big target - £5 million.

Just drop into one of the valley shops to help him get there. You can't let him be beaten by Botham.