Paper Monitor: Marathon garb? Marathon gob?

What not to wear, or what not to write?

Like an ailing runner struggling at the 21 mile mark, the Jan Moir/Katherine Jenkins marathon spat lumbers on.

It all began when Jan Moir wrote in her Mail column yesterday about Katherine Jenkins' "uniquely red carpet magnifico" performance in the London marathon.

There then follows a barrage of purple-prosed but unsisterly sentiment.

"Her biscuity maquillage was flawless. Hosed on, as they say in the trade. The building trade."

And on it went for 1,300 words of detail encrusted character assassination. Miss Jenkins looks as fresh as a "frosted, coral-coloured rose". The false eyelashes are "sooty", the eyeliner "coal black", her diamonds "raisin-sized".

She can't keep up the studied description forever though: "Perhaps the only miracle was that she didn't run backwards in high heels, while singing the Welsh national anthem at the top of her voice."

It then swerves into a wider appraisal of Jenkins's qualities, from her "cathedral cleavage" at the Thatcher funeral, to the "almost frontless plunge ball gown" she wore to sing for the Queen and Prince Philip. Her denial of false rumours that "few had even heard" about a non-existent affair with David Beckham summed up this talent for self promotion, Moir writes.

The hatchet job ends thus: "Her heels are always too high, her tops too low, her hats too big, her hair too blonde and her teeth too white. She is always too much."

It seems Moir is a little too much for some Mail readers. The article's online comments range from "Have you run a marathon for a cancer charity Jan??" to "You are jealous or what?"

Jenkins opted to rise angelically above it. (Is Paper Monitor now guilty of Moirish hyperbole?) She released a statement via twitter that began: "Jan (Moir), I wish you love & happiness in your life."

She denies wearing full make up saying it was Vaseline handed out by St John Ambulance. She wore sunglasses because it was sunny. She tied her hair back because running is sweaty. "Next time you run a marathon Jan, I will be the first to sponsor you," she signs off.

Few columnists have entered this vipers' nest of a story. One who has, the Guardian's Giles Fraser, also ran the marathon on Sunday.

Note the telling link in his succinct summing up. "You can be sure that had she looked remotely exhausted at the end of the race, some parts of the press would have been delighted to revel in the schadenfreude of the beautiful-person-looks-less-than-beautiful photograph. Give the woman a break."

For any runners reading, Katherine Jenkins finished in 5:26:ish. Giles Fraser was slower.

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