In a move likely to put further strain on Anglo-US relations, it has emerged Lockerbie bomber, Abdelbaset Ali Megrahi, is to enter the 2011 London Marathon dressed as popular Disney character Mickey Mouse.
Despite an earlier cancer scare, Megrahi has been passed as fit to compete by the same doctors who over-estimated the size of his original tumour and is said to be feeling ‘totally up for it’ and ‘relishing the challenge’.
Although hugely controversial, many companies are seeking to take advantage of Megrahi’s high profile and have offered to sponsor the former terrorist. Lucozade Sport look to have beaten off a challenge by BP who wanted Megrahi to dress as an oil-rig bearing the BP logo in order to boost the beleaguered offshore drilling industry, but Megrahi claims he found their costume to cumbersome and wasn’t sure what to do with the pipe running out of the back .
Megrahi has been undergoing a series of intensive exercise programs and uses a long stretch of the Libyan coastline for endurance training. He can be seen most mornings sprinting along the beach being shouted at by a man in a white jeep holding a loud-hailer, whilst the inspirational theme music to Rocky plays loudly in the background. Only last week he managed to beat his personal best – shaving several minutes off the time achieved by Paula Radcliffe in Athens, not including the half hour she spent curling one off into the gutter.
President Barack Obama meanwhile is said to have reacted with fury to the news, but calmed down somewhat after realising he is in a very special relationship with the British PM. He told a packed conference:
‘I spoke to David on the phone and he has offered me his assurances that, if Megrahi does take part, he will be denied refreshments in the form of little plastic cups of water for the duration of the race, which should help those seeking ‘closure’. I imagine when he finishes he will have a real thirst on him. David is also going to try and wangle it so that he is forced to run alongside Sir Jimmy Saville OBE.’
However, many in the Cabinet feel Megrahi’s participation will not only harm transatlantic relations, but will prove too gruelling for the sprightly mass murderer and a compromise is being sought to allow Megrahi to enter the Great North Run dressed as a chicken.