Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

Men's 20km race squawk and women's marathon

We have been up to London for the race squawk and the women's marathon. My original thought was to go to see the race walk and then if that was too horrific not to bother with the marathon. This was possibly a flawed theory as the race walk was 10 laps of 2km, of which approximately half was in a ticketed area, whereas the marathon was essentially 3 loops of 8 miles plus start and finish, but in the event I was surprised how few people there were for the race walk - we were in front of a wire fence which put other people off but you could see perfectly through it. I suppose Green Park was slightly busier than when there was an Olympic race on, but less than one might think.
Race walking is very odd, the oddest thing being that it is implicit that there is quite a lot of wriggle room in the 'keeping one foot on the ground' and 'supporting leg must be straight' rules i.e. if you used a high speed camera you would see that they don't have both feet on the ground at once. The Wikipedia talk page has the response you would expect if you told Slashdot weenies about the existence of the sport - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Racewalking#Criticisms
There were no British competitors; as well as the leaders getting big cheers, the guy at the back got big, possibly bigger, cheers.
One of the Australians (who didn't finish) had a particularly fine beard and pony-tail - his photo here doesn't really do the beard justice - BEARD!. It was very much a 'geezer' beard and pony tail (somewhat more ginger than the picture shows, too), and I am pleased to see that, assuming the website is up to date, he is still doing a BA at the age of 26, the age of the multi-decade Australian first degree is clearly not completely dead.

We walked down to Green Park from Paddington, afterwards we went to Euston and went to the Diwana Bhel Puri in Drummond Street - go there before it's flattened for the Camden-Birmingham Airport shuttle, as someone else has noticed http://spicegazette.com/bhel-puri-mix-up/

Today was somewhat wetter and we had to get up somewhat earlier. We decided to go to near St. Paul's where there was a brief stretch where the route in both directions was on the same road, on the grounds that we thought this would be less crowded than the Victoria Embankment. We found a good location on a balcony overlooking the road which had mainly been colonised by Japanese supporters, with flags and megaphones, and even a Japanese TV crew (haven't found any images yet). Not actually as wet as reports suggest. I wasn't surprised to see Freya Murray do the best out of the 3 British runners - from watching the London Marathon on the TV I thought she looked fresher, but I suppose they couldn't really choose her when she wasn't the fastest.

Once again, the back runners got loud applause, for the first two loops it was a woman from East Timor, but she overtook someone else by the third loop. By the time the last woman (from Ireland) was coming past for the 6th time, most people had gone away - someone shouted to the jazz band playing at the pub round the corner to play something cheerful, so they struck up 'When All The Saints'.

We took a tube to King's Cross (via a couple of vegetable samosas and flapjacks), then walked up Caledonian Road to an Ethiopian restaurant. I didn't like the look of the first, so we went to the second, which was past the Regent's Canal - the point at which the money runs out. I think we have been there before, but driving from the opposite direction, but it's slightly hard to tell as I think it has been done up since then. We walked back to King's Cross via the canal and the area being redeveloped, a fine intersection of art, money and bullshit.

They were very keen on people going to the Olympic Park should go to West Ham, I imagine people from other directions are sent via other routes e.g. the Javelins, but they didn't seem to be signposting people via the Javelins even from King's Cross. I gather that the trains from KC were moderately buggered this afternoon, but that was obviously after we were there. My impression is that there have been the usual level of transport problems i.e. quite high, but that the media have decided that this isn't a story.

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