St John Ambulance withdraws London Marathon place for former priest

The first-aid charity is preventing Neil Horan from running on its behalf after revelations about his previous conduct

Neil Horan
Neil Horan

St John Ambulance has withdrawn a place in the London Marathon for a former Irish priest with a history of disrupting major sporting events.

The charity said that Neil Horan was due to run for it in next month’s marathon, but after it was alerted to his previous stunts it contacted him to tell him that he would not be able to take part.

Horan’s publicity stunts include running on to the track at the British Grand Prix in 2003 dressed in a kilt and waving a religious banner, and invading the marathon course during the 2004 Athens Olympics to interfere with race leader Vanderlei de Lima, who subsequently finished third.

He was pictured earlier this month outside Southwark Crown Court, where the Max Clifford trial is taking place, with a banner claiming that the charity stopped him from running the marathon because of his religious views.

St John Ambulance said that it was not because of his religious views that he lost his place but his previous history of disrupting major sporting events.

"Due to Mr Horan’s history of disrupting major sporting events, we regret that we have had to withdraw his place in the Virgin Money London Marathon," said a spokeswoman for the charity. "Our fundraising policy states that St John Ambulance reserves the right to withdraw a charity place where the competitor does not comply with our values.

"Our entire focus at the marathon is to support the runners and to ensure that they and everyone watching is kept safe."

The charity, which said it withdrew the offer of a place in January, will be represented by 200 runners at the marathon.

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