FOR once in his life Will Hawking may be privately hoping for some cloud cover and mild conditions for his debut in the Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, writes KEVIN FAHEY.

Normally Hawking loves sunshine. Lots of sunshine. Sun and heat may be the enemy of marathon runners but for the founder and managing director of Marshfield Farm Ice Cream Limited they are the perfect conditions for soaring sales.

So that leaves the 49-year-old in a bit of a quandary when looking ahead to the big day.

“Given a choice I would always go for a hot day as I would rather take the ice cream sales,” said Hawking.

“But for running I guess it would be better to be a bit cooler.”

Maybe a cool start to the day and a beautiful Sunday afternoon to help boost those sales would be a good comprise, especially if Hawking is to realise his ambition.

“While it is a big physical challenge my target is to run 3hrs 15/20mins,” added Hawking.

“I have been running 60 miles a week for three months now and done a lot of runs over 20 miles so I think my preparations have been good.

“I also ran a personal best of 89mins 23secs in the Bath half marathon and that was encouraging.

“I know it is a fast start in London so I have to be careful not to get swept along by the crowd. It is all about pacing myself properly to ensure I can get to end.

“I am really excited because London is an amazing sporting event.”

Not surprisingly Hawking, whose company now employs 30 people at its Wiltshire HQ, is an advocate of including plenty of ice cream in the marathon build-up and has been trying to sell the concept to his Team Bath AC clubmates.

“I am always trying to persuade the guys at Team Bath to increase their intake of ice cream because after a long run it is a food that has the right balance of energy and protein and it is really good to eat,” explained Hawking.

“When I come back from a training run I often have a big bowl of ice cream and I feel okay! You can’t beat it.”

Hawking’s current favourite post-training treat is the new salted caramel so I am sure his family will have a cool box packed with a large tub or two to revive him when he finishes on Sunday.