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Sunday, 22 April 2007

London Marathon 2007

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This morning I travelled to Canary Wharf to watch the London Marathon, which is a spectacular event crossing London with a 26.2 mile race. I’d looked at the varied maps of the race to try to find somewhere that I could get a good view, with some atmosphere and some recognizable symbols of London. I’d also worked out that there would be other parts of the runners’ route that would be much busier, such as the Embankment, the Mall and the area around Tower Bridge and where the Cutty Sark is supposed to be moored. With the major traffic restrictions in London because of the road closures for the race, it also needed to be somewhere that I could reach fairly easily by public transport and walking.

Consequently, I took a tube train to Canary Wharf, listening on the way that the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) has some kind of train failure and was not running. No surprises there. As luck would have it, there were people around, but not too many. It was pretty easy to walk around and pick a vantage point. I initially selected one on a corner, but then I noticed the lack of sunlight because of the tall building shadows, so instead I found another location by one of the water pickups, around Mile 19.
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Cup of coffee in hand, the area I’d selected also had a convenient wall (a) for sitting on and (b) to get a better vantage point later, if I needed it. Choosing a point at two thirds of the way around also had the advantage that by this point the runners had separated out sufficiently. It gave several distinct races- the wheelchair race, the elite womens’ race, the elite mens’ race and the mass race. Altogether around 35,000 people enter this marathon, ranging from the super fit, to people who dress up as bakewell tarts.
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And what a fantastic atmosphere. The races, the participants, many running for charity, the supporters – who cheer everyone. Watch it on television by all means, but if you are from London it is one to also experience, whether from the run itself or from the sidelines.

I took quite a few snapshots, mainly from Docklands, but also a few from around Buckingham Palace near to the finish line. I’ve put a bunch of them onto flickr or you can watch the slide show
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