2012 Olympics: Day 16
Events watched: Men's Marathon
Performance of Day
Stephen Kiprotich - The Gold medalist! In a marathon anything can happen and Stephen Kiprotich kept that faith. Kenya, or failing that, Ethiopia were 'expected' to win, so as the laps went by and the lead group running past us got smaller and smaller it was exciting to see if 'The Ugandan' could hold on and medal. The last time they past our spot Kiprotich was leading on his own and we then listed to the radio to see if he either of the next two Kenyans would catch him. We were willing him to as Uganda don't win many medals at the Olympics (this was their only medal in 2012 and their first since 1972) plus we have a soft spot for their runners after Moses Kipsoro and Boniface Kiprop came and spent an evening at Run and Become after the World Cross Country Championships.
Most Inspiring Performance
Meb Keflezighi - He ran the marathon the more enjoyable way - passing runners for the last third of the race to come through and place 4th! He wasn't anywhere near 4th for most of the race but if you maintain your pace and don't slow down 4th is where you can finish! 'Meb' has done this before to win a medal at the Athens Olympics and we were madly waving our American flag at him the last couple of laps willing him to gain another place or two at least.
Most Interesting Volunteer Job
Hugh Jones - course measurer! As the top course measurer around Hugh has measured, and certified, the 26.2 mile distance for many of the top marathons all over the world - including previous Olympics Games. Being a course measurer means you have to get up ridiclously early so you can take the shortest line down the middle of the road when there's no cars on it - runners will run the most direct route so it needs measured that way! As if that's not enough fun, Hugh then has to ride in the lead car to make sure that the runners are following the course he measured. This time he got to do that from one of the iconic sights of a major marathon - The Press Truck! The back of the truck is the best view of the race, and seeing Hugh hanging right out of the passenger window looking back at the race in his Games Maker uniform was great sight!
Any time a runner came past us - the pavement was packed so there was plenty of noise! For those who have never stood by the road of a big city marathon, watching live is an energising experience. Knowing it's not as much fun if you can't see we got there 2 hours early to make sure we were at the front of a barrier (luckily Sunday papers at the end of the Games have lots to read!). It was worth losing a bit of a lie-in as soon as they passed us for the first time. They are running SO fast, and there's not much time to take it all in before they're off down the road. They also run super close to you. The 'Blue Line' that marks the shortest route was about a foot out from the kerb, and in theory where the runners should be running... but stick your neck out to get a view past the crowd to see who's coming next and if you time it wrong you could get in a tired marathon runners way. Some of them were running down the double red line at the kerb side instead! Maybe they were tried and wanting to fill their legs with the noise from the crowds.
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