As regular readers of the blog will know, last year I ran in the London Marathon. In my write-up for it here, I mentioned that one of the smiley aspects of the day was my friend Chris not only coming to cheer me on, but indeed running alongside me for a bit, which was welcome company.

I don’t know if the running bug was transmitted by my sweating onto him or something, but Chris says that he was rather taken with the whole thing, especially the cheerful atmosphere of the crowds lining the route, to the extent he’s managed to snare himself a place in this year’s London Marathon (taking place on 13th April).

As one would only expect from a friend of mine, Chris has decided to do the Marathon to raise funds for a good cause – in this case, the mental health charity Mind – and as I know that readers of this blog are both smart AND generous, I’d like to ask you to sponsor Chris. You can do this by visiting his online sponsor page, which is here. The site, by the way, is totally secure, and if you’re a UK taxpayer the magic of Gift Aid will increase your donation by 28%, so you can look even more generous and impressive.

Please do take a minute to sponsor him – he’s a jolly good egg, running for a darned good cause, and I think he deserves as much support as possible. And if you’re one of the lucky people who’s invited to my wedding later this year, you’ve got a conversation-opening line if you meet Chris: “Hey, didn’t you do the Marathon? Well done – I sponsored you!”

I’ll try to put a more lasting link in the column to the right of the screen, and I’ll probably remind you repeatedly as we get closer to the Marathon itself, but if you sponsor him today, you can regard all my future reminders with a smug sense of being one step ahead of the game.

As ever, I thank you – and I’m sure Chris does too (or at least he would, if he had any breath left in his lungs after all the training).