WHO'S WHO: SIMON DIDES, French ex-pat training for the London Marathon

Simon Dides is running the London Marathon after being inspired by his disabled cousin who took part in the skiing at the last winter Paralympics. The accountant moved to Belsize Park from France five years ago. What do you like most about Belsize Park?

Simon Dides is running the London Marathon after being inspired by his disabled cousin who took part in the

skiing at the last winter Paralympics. The accountant moved to Belsize Park from France five years ago.

What do you like most about Belsize Park?

I love Hampstead Heath, which is very close by. It's great for walking, running, even swimming, if the weather's right. It's also very hilly in places. Basically, it's a great place to get active, exercise and partake in sports.


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What do you do in your spare time?

I'm doing sports mostly. As I'm running the London Marathon, my training for that is taking up all my time at the moment. I'm either running or swimming these days.

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Where was your last holiday?

On my last trip I went to a great skiing resort in the French Alps called Morzine. I love skiing, of course, being a former instructor. You can find out more about the resort at www.morzine.com.

What's your favourite local restaurant?

I really like the French restaurant La Cage Imaginaire, just off Hampstead High Street. It's a nice walk up from Belsize Park. They serve very good quality food and they're not too expensive either.

What book are you reading at the moment?

I'm reading One Hundred Years Of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez. The book follows a family struggling in a fictional village in Colombia during a civil war. It's an incredibly original story.

What was your most memorable day in the area?

I have two particularly memorable days actually. One was the July 7 bombings in 2005. It was absolute chaos in town that day. I still remember the apprehension of facing the tube the next day. The other is a much more cheerful memory - my first snowfall in London.

What would you do if you were given a million pounds to spend in a day?

Being a sensible person, I would put some of the money into a training account. I might go off heli-skiing (off-trail skiing reached by a helicopter) for a while as well. The rest of the money I would donate to children's charities.

What would you do if you were mayor for the day?

I would make London a car-free zone. The noise pollution here is awful. I say remove all the cars to make a more peaceful and happy city.

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