Tuesday, April 11
Survey probes runners' sex habits

 LONDON -- Sex on the eve of a big race is good for marathon running, according to a survey carried out for the organizers of Sunday's London marathon.

"Every competitor planning to build a last-minute lovemaking session into their training program will run faster than those who don't," organizers said Tuesday.

The study concludes that marathon running can be good for your sex life, with 30 percent of those questioned saying the sport had improved their performance in bed, organizers said. The survey, commissioned by the race sponsors, explores the loves, hates and habits of long-distance runners and was based on the finishing times of 2,000 entrants in last year's event, of both sexes.

Half of those questioned maintained their sex life had been unaffected by running while 8 perccent said running had harmed it.

Most runners were against sex the night before the big day -- competitors have to get up early on the morning of the race.

"But those who said 'yes' -- with men being more 'for' than women -- had faster finishing times," organizers said.

Peter Marsh of the Oxford-based Social Issues Research Centre, who carried out the survey, said, "For the first time we have gone inside the mind of the marathon runner and produced some very interesting findings -- not least those about sex.

"The survey also shows how preparing to take part in this great test of endurance can affect many different areas of people's lives."

The favorite for Sunday's men's race -- Khalid Khannouchi of Morocco, who is now based in the United States -- is not a fan of sex before hours of pounding the streets.

"We don't have sex -- not even a week before," his wife and coach Sandra Khannouchi said.

"The week before we just concentrate on the marathon," she said. "After the race is over we have a party. But not before. It doesn't work for us."