13/03/2015 11:32 GMT | Updated 13/05/2015 06:59 BST

Why I'm Running the London Marathon in Support of Free the Children

My name is Antonio Latorre and my company Finesse Corporate Solutions provide fitness activities to AOL UK staff in the London office. After receiving the news that I had gained a place for the Virgin London Marathon in April, I thought that it would be a great idea to resurrect the iconic AOL running man logo. My aim is to complete the marathon dressed in full head-to-toe Running Man costume to raise money for the charity Free the Children.

The Running Man was the invention of designer JoRoan Lazaro. In 1997 AOL opened its Instant Messenger service to everyone, not just paying customers, and the yellow running man logo was right beside their very first screen name. With his faceless head and unembellished yellow body, the AOL running man soon became a symbol of America.


Sadly the current costume is too well insulated to be running a marathon, so we have had a custom made running man suit made by an amazing costume design company is based in London. The fittings have all gone well and we should receive the costume shortly to beginmy training in the costume. While I am doing this for a good cause it will not be without its challenges. The biggest problems will be the extra weight, mobility and restricted vision not to mention dehydration.

This will be my hardest challenge to date completing the 42kilometer course, as the weather is so unpredictable. Last year's London Marathon took place on a warm, dry Sunday in April, with temperatures reaching 15.2°c and not a drop of rain. We can only pray for these conditions again. Anything will be better than rain!


As a father and grandfather, Free the Children is very close to my heart as it invests in childhood - every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Free the Children is an amazing cause set up by 12 12-year-olds that has grown over the past 20 years from these amazing children to today, inspiring over two million kids to get involved to make change in both the global and local community. Having seen the impact AOL has managed to make by supporting this charity and the enthusiasm from the six AOL employees who visited Kenya with Free the Children last year, I knew I wanted to be a part and support this amazing cause.

I will be blogging about my progress so anyone who wants to run in a costume at the next London Marathon will be able to see what they may be letting themselves in for!

To help me raise as much as possible for Free the Children, please donate via paypal to what you can, and help make a difference to children around the world.