Duffy seeks volunteers for running battle

Kevin Duffy, managing director of Hamptons International Mortgages, has initiated the next instalment in his running battle with Walter Avrili, product director at John Charcol.

Duffy is seeking to enlist 12 volunteers from the mortgage industry – The Dirty Dozen – to tackle the ING New York City Marathon on November 5 2006. He hopes to raise over 200,000 for charity in the process.

Duffy says: “We are drawing inspiration from what Bristol & West’s Deirdre McManus has achieved with the Broomstick Ball.

“I would suggest potential applicants enjoy their Christmas puddings as the boot camp opens in January.”

Of the 12 runners, nine must be over 40 years of age. David Bitner, head of mortgages at Bradford & Bingley, and Barney McCarthy, senior features writer for Mortgage Strategy, have snapped up two of the under-age places, meaning there is still one up for grabs.

Six of the veteran places have already been filled. Lining up alongside Duffy and Avrili will be John Malone, managing director of Premier Mortgage Service, Jayne-Anne Gadhia, managing director of consumer finance for Royal Bank of Scotland, Nigel Stockton, managing director of HBOS intermediaries, and Grenville Turner, CEO of business to business at HBOS.

Duffy is in talks with Mark Harris, managing director of Savills Private Finance, to persuade him to rediscover his running pedigree.

Duffy went head-to-head with Avrili in New York in 2003, finishing 15 minutes ahead of the John Charcol man. The pair raised over 7,000 in the process.

Avrili and Duffy have run a number of marathons between them, and Duffy recorded a personal best of three hours 39 minutes in New York. McCarthy has a brace of half-marathons under his belt and is stepping up to the 26.2 mile discipline in London in April.

The race’s November 5 date will coincide with the 10th anniversary of PMS’ inauguration.

Duffy adds: “The race coinciding with PMS’ anniversary should ensure fireworks either way. Nigel has said if Coventry City are in the Premiership next year it may affect his participation. Given their current form, it won’t be a problem.”

Other industry figures have also been quick to nail their colours to the mast. Ray Boulger, senior technical manager at John Charcol, says: “After a narrow defeat last time, Avrili has been training like a man possessed in his quest for revenge over Duffy.”

The one under-age vacancy and the three veteran slots are sure to be filled soon by people eager to shake off the Christmas excess. Anyone interested should email mortgage.strategy@centaur.co.uk