In my last post, I wrote about the first evening of Athletics at the 2017 IAAF World Championships. It was a great night, and if you haven’t caught up yet, you can just hop back a post.
Although the tickets to get into the London Stadium to watch the Athletics did cost money, there were some events, such as the Men’s Marathon that were run on the streets of London and free to watch. Well… most of it, I think. There may have been ‘paying’ areas near to the start and finish areas at Tower Bridge, but I don’t know that for certain, so don’t quote me on that! As it was though, we were in a free-to-watch area along the Embankment, right opposite Cleopatra’s needle.
Thankfully the sun was still out, as it had been for our practically our entire weekend. When we arrived on the Embankment, there were a lot fewer people than I thought would be there, and it didn’t get busy at all. Unlike previous sporting events I’ve attended in Paris (see Tour de France) there were no extra barriers in the way, so we could get really close to the action. Probably to the extent that if you wanted, you could touch the athletes. But that would be a bit odd…
We had three Brits taking part in the Marathon: Andrew Davies, Callum Hawkins, and Josh Griffiths, who all finished in respectable positions. Callum Hawkins finished fourth overall, which was fantastic, achieving a personal best of 2:10:17, only 26 seconds behind Simbu who took the bronze medal. Second place was taken by Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia, and the top spot was earned by Geoffrey Kipkorir Kirui of Kenya, in a staggering time of 2:08:27, his season’s best.
Major well done though to all 71 runners that managed to finish the race. I definitely could not run the distance they ran, as quickly as they were running it. In fact, I can’t run five miles, let alone 26! It did astonish me how fast they ran though. The fact they moved at a constantly fast speed really astounded me too. It’s never really clear how fast they go when you watch it on the TV. I really recommend going to see these sort of events in person, wherever possible, to really appreciate the work, effort, and level of training that must go into competing on the world stage. They’re not champions for no reason!
The Marathon was the final event we stayed to watch in London, so after returning to the hotel to collect our luggage, it was back off up North! On the way back, I found out that the Olympics in 2024 will be hosted by Paris, my home away from home which I am hugely excited about! I’m sure when the time comes I’ll be on the first flight over!