Pop star Vanessa Carlton was thinking about burning down her house as she ran in the New York Marathon yesterday (06NOV05) - because it was the only way she could deal with the pain of the last few miles.

The singer was one of 37,000 runners competing in the big race and she admitted just before she set off that she was worried she wouldn't make it past 18 miles (28.9 kilometres) of the 26.2 mile (42.1 kilometre) course.

So she came up with a way to keep tiredness and pain at bay: "I think it's important to do things that scare you and make you a little bit uncomfortable. I've never run beyond 18 miles so maybe I'll start thinking about burning down my house at mile 20 or, like, some violent thoughts."

Carlton, who was running for the Musicians On Call charity, was hoping to complete the marathon in under four hours, and admits she found the training for the race very therapeutic.

She adds, "It's something that's very personal and the approach and the training is a very intimate goal. No one's really relying on me, it's just me relying on me.

"Physically, running is something that's really calming to me and kind of helps me get out of my old dark, funky moods."