[Check the source for a fun photos of Lucy running with Andrew!]

RUNNING? USUALLY actress Lucy Lawless avoids it whenever possible but she's made an exception to help drum up publicity for an attention-seeking friend in need.

Andrew Young, CEO of the Starship Foundation, which raises funds for Auckland's Starship Children's Hospital, will be in New York on November 1 for his first marathon, and he has shamelessly called on famous friends to make sure he raises as much money as possible in the process.

Lawless, who's filming the steamy historical series Spartacus in Auckland, is donating $2000 if Young completes the 42km course. Last week the total promised via Young's sponsorship webpage had topped $18,000, with donors including former Air New Zealand boss Ralph Norris ($2500) and someone called Bronagh who gave $1000. (In the spirit of discretion, Young wouldn't confirm whether this was the PM's wife.) Young says he's also had pledges from charity doyenne Rosie Horton, and from super-rich expat Michael Fay.

Young says that trotting photogenically alongside Lawless whom he befriended when she signed up for a foundation fundraiser 10 years ago and became a board trustee "sure beats running with my evil coach Tim Morrison, who is always yelling at me to `go hard'." Lawless even has an off-course tip for the budding international marathoner: "You've got to scrub your shoes when going through Customs."

Her support doesn't stretch to joining Young on his 5am training sessions. "I developed a hatred for running because the Round the Bays [fun run] was always on my birthday, and we always had to run with my dad's company."

She is "blown away" though by Young's dedication to the foundation. "It's a sharp organisation, run on the smell of an oily rag."

Young's first marathon, apart from another opportunity to raise money for the hospital, is a chance to get to grips with a mid-life crisis. "Turning 40 next year is causing some negative resistance. I've somehow always thought of myself as vaguely in my 20s or early 30s, so I don't know how it's crept up so damn fast. It's galvanised my resolve to push my boundaries."


Source |  | Thanks to Barbara Davies for the info