A Marathon in Old London Town

We had to blink and pinch ourselves today, watching Olympic runners make their way along the Pall Mall, past Big Ben and St Paul’s Cathedral.

But the Shrewsdays had a way to check whether everything was real: we could look out of the window.

We had cadged a view to inspire envy: a building on Aldgate which actually formed a bridge over the route.

And had a brunch buffet on the side.

You could concievably watch the men run underneath, grab a croissant and run to the other side to watch them emerge. Pooh-sticks with international athletes.

You’d have to be fast, though.

The atmosphere out on the streets was electric. Everyone from Metroland had got on the train to come to what would be one of the very last events of a rip-roaring British Olympics. We have 29 gold medals under our belt and we’re staring incredulously round at other countries to see if we have been mistaken for someone else. But no: there we are: third on the table.

Phil and I, and Maddie and Felix, strolled along a sunlit Thames. Tower Bridge was resplendent in its rings, St Paul’s was looking pristine and ready for its front line role in the mens’ marathon. Everyone was smiling and life was good.

We were hurrying in case roads were closed and we couldn’t get to our venue: the conference centre bang-smack opposite the Museum of London, a short potter from St Paul’s.

We arrived without event, and settled ourselves in comfy chairs overlooking the fast-gathering crowds below.

And they gathered. And gathered. People who could have no chance of a decent view who still came with their flags and the whole family to cheer because, well, this was the Olympics. The atmosphere was electric by the time the runners began: and continued until the very last runner Β appeared on the last lap, followed, Phil dryly observed, by a road sweeper.

It was a day to remember.

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45 thoughts on “A Marathon in Old London Town

  1. Kate, you are the best! It has been grand fun seeing the Olympics through your bird’s eye views, as well as to see Felix and Maddie watching from high on their perch above the runners and crowds. Every inch of it enjoyed on this side of the pond. Thank you.

      1. Now you’ve mentioned one of my favorite artists. We visited Monet’s house in Giverny several years ago, and we walked thru the gardens. Love the lily pads in the water and the poppies. Just beautiful.

  2. Fantastic Kate. We were waving the runners on on the telly here in Germany. I’m so glad the Ugandan won.
    Lovely to see your pictures. I’ve just been watching the closing ceremony and wishing I was there. It feels like a great time to be British at the moment!

  3. London did an excellent job hosting the Olympics. Apparently, the host country does experience a bounce in medals. I’m elated that Andy Murray won gold and it was Roger’s turn to be “1st loser” (a great Jerry Seinfeld term for the silver medalist). I know that Andy recently dropped out of the Toronto Masters with a knee injury, but maybe he’s just resting for the upcoming US Open over here in Queens? He has got to finally win a Grand Slam and it would be great if he does that on my side of the pond. Losing to Federer at Wimbledon was heartbreaking. Back to the Olympics, I’ve greatly enjoyed your observations and your always spot-on pictures.

  4. Watched it on the telly and thought the venue was fantastic. So wishing I could have been in London for the Olympics. It’s such a great city.

    Glad you were able to see it so close up. Fab pics, too.

    1. London really had a chance to show off during the marathon, too,MJ. This is my best side, and all that. Rounding the corner on Big Ben has to be a classic moment for any marathon runner.

      Ho hum. Rio next….

  5. We watched every minute of the marathon until the mountain bike race started. The marathon was well organized and thought out πŸ™‚

  6. Glad to hear you got to experience some of the Olympic atmosphere on the streets of London yesterday, Kate, and it’s good to read your own personal perspective on it :). I was also on the streets of London yesterday, and, funnily enough, I also saw the bloke wearing the floral hat…near the Royal Festival Hall on the South Bank :).

  7. Great Stuff – seemed the build up went on and on, various wobbles and lots of cynicism and then – it was all over in a puff of Seb’s magic lantern. Nice to see the winner pick up his medal at the closing ceremony too. Can’t the BBC just repeat it all for a couple of years on a big loop?

  8. Marvelous, marvelous, marvelous! I really enjoyed the Olympics and think GB did a great job of hosting! The photos are so positive and uplifting. Just one happy party! This will be a huge happy memory for Felix and Maddie! isn’t that wonderful all on its own merit! πŸ™‚ D

  9. Yay you & congrats on a lovely show! (truth, I hardly watched any of the coverage. I think I enjoyed it better when we were not top dog…I”m an underdog kinda gal)

  10. I am so envious Kate! First the Jubilee and now the Olympics. What a year you’ve had. And no finer country than to sit up and celebrate!

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