Out of Character
Before I go any further I want to make it very clear that I am usually a ‘bar humbug’ when it comes to going on days out to busy places and often tend to avoid things that everyone else is into to (usually because I cannot bear hype or expense!). The London Olympics however has been different. I have enjoyed every moment of it and wanted to have a taste of the action for myself, that and I felt I should make the effort for this once in a lifetime opportunity for my boys. So we decided to go down to the see the Women’s marathon – it was free and on a Sunday.
The minute we stepped off the train we noticed all these wonderful volunteers. There were all over London ensuring that we knew where we were going and checking to see if we needed any help. Being the busy place it is London does not always the reputation as being the friendliest place, but for the Olympics it would seem that this has changed. My husband noticed ” ..even the station staff are friendly.” During our day the children got free rock to eat and we were all offered ice – creams (yes for free, no catch!).
I have never been to watch a marathon live – indeed I thought that it would be a waste of time but I was wrong. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. The course was set out so that in total we would see the athletes 6 times. Great. The first time around they were all bunched in fairly close together but as the race went on they became more strung out which reduced the waiting time between each ‘sighting’. (Very important if you are under 10!)
They have some very bizarre vehicles involved in the marathon!
Notice the Belgian plates? I am guessing that this may be because their aren’t that many of these around. Why Belgian? They are not that renowned for their cars ( or not to my knowledge anyway.)
It followed the runners around and was the first indication that they were on their way to us.
There were many more – cars with ‘official’ looking people in, a mini-bus which I think was for collecting up anyone who got injured, and a few motorbikes. So not just runners!
Now I am getting onto specifics of running. (I must point out that I am not an expert in any way at all so this is all my own amateur opinion.)
I don’t think I need to say anymore. The focus of all these athletes was amazing. They just kept on looking forward and concentrating on their job. There was one poor runner who was WAY behind everyone else right from the beginning but she just kept on going. (She did get loud cheers all the way along but I have no idea of that helped or not!) There were others that obviously had hit the wall and were really struggling to put one foot in front of the other (some looking incredibly unstable!) but they kept going and when they reappeared later on had got over it and looked stronger. Likewise there were some who looked incredibly strong when they ran past us but their position would indicate that they had some trouble somewhere.
At the start it was raining so hard the drains could not cope with all the rain yet they continued as if it was not happening at all!
Not everyone has a perfect running style. In fact there were some participants whose running style looked as if it would cause them real problems. It would appear that even some ‘professional’ runners have far from perfect form so I can relax a bit!
So would I recommend that someone made the effort to go to the Men’s Marathon on Sunday? Absolutely – despite getting completely drenched we had a great time and my husband (who hasn’t any interest in running would like to go back to see it!). London has really responded to the challenge and if you are able to go and experience some of it and you haven’t yet then I would definitely recommend it.