Sunday, April 22, 2012

The London marathon and jelly baby milkshakes

I run to the bus stop most mornings. I'd like to think it's a mile, but I'm probably exaggerating.

Today, though, 37 500 people ran 26 miles around London, and we went down to see them all run past and cheer them on.

First off were the elite women. They still had about twenty miles to go, but they were running faster than I can. Next came the wheelchair marathon (the winner of that finished in an hour and a half), with people in special racing chairs with an extra wheel out the front. They were a bit more spread out than the elite women, and then we had to wait for ages before the elite men came through. There were a few helicopters whirring overhead and a blimp milling around at a safe distance, which we thought would be good indicators of when they were getting close, but weren't particularly. We had time to get water and a cookie from the service station and test out our megaphone and sit enjoying the sun (it was actually sunny! For real!). Someone made a comment about checking the progress by phone and we realised we actually could, so for a while we watched the race live on iPhone.

Finally the elite men came through, and then the 'hordes' began. All thirty seven thousand of them.

Lots of people have their names across their chests and you can call out "go Jaz" or "you can do it, Tim!". Some of them smile and wave back, some of them give you a look as if to say "what do you think you know about this? You're not the one running!". Fair enough.

There's an awesome atmosphere, with everyone cheering and clapping and random costumes popping up every so often. We saw lots of rhinoceroses (rhinoceri?), a teapot with accompanying tea bag, someone carrying a five-metre tall pylon, superheroes and animals and flowers, Sonic the hedgehog, a few Wombles, Big Ben, the Gherkin and St Paul's, some fire-fighters who looked extremely warm with all their gear on and lots and lots and lots of tutus. Someone saw a Where's Wally, but i didn't manage to find him. A bit further on a group of drummers was pounding out some rhythms, and there was a brass band behind us.

it takes a long time for thirty seven thousand runners/walkers to go past. By the time the last stragglers were coming through we were already on our way to breakfast (though we felt a bit bad, because the ones at the end were the ones most in need of encouragement. Or, I guess, also most likely to be annoyed at us standing still on the side of the road with our megaphone...).

I had heard tell of a shop in Greenwich that sold milkshakes of every flavour imaginable, so after breakfast we made a stop there. After a bit of umming and ahhing, I got a mint chocolate aero and jelly baby milkshake, which was pretty good though a bit strange. They had one of those 'Will it Blend' blenders to make the milkshakes, and all the chocolate a lollies/sweets/candy along the back wall. The chill factor was pretty good, and I did enjoy the tiny bits of jelly baby coming up the straw. As always, the first half of it was a lot better than the second half, by which time I was a bit tired of mint-chocolate-jelly baby and getting a sugar headache. Ah well. It was worth it.


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