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Three in to one does go!

July 29, 2013

After a fairly heavy girls night out on Friday, I was unable to get up in time for step class but mentally excused myself as had to get ready to re-visit the Olympic park for an afternoon of athletics. Way hay! I blogged repeatedly about the fabulous Jubalympics last year and was pumped for revisiting the park and seeing the stars of track and field.

Now called the Queen Elizabeth Olympic park, the walk to the stadium is no longer flanked by a clear run from the tube station, but a busy working Westfield with walkways narrowed by restaurant tables and chairs or ropes to cordon off the queues for various shops so we are funnelled down to a few abreast. No gamesmakers cheering us on or keeping energy high and most people not adorned in their country flags. The park itself is part building site now – with some venues having been taken away or dug up.

But eventually we arrive in the stadium in to fantastic seats on the home straight just before the finish line. About ten rows back from the front. awesome. .

Here we are back at the Olympic stadium

Here we are back at the Olympic stadium

And the stadium is packed to the gunnels again. I still love all the stuff that goes with an athletics meet that isn’t really anything to do with the running and jumping and throwing. The military precision with which the hurdles are put out and put away is a highly choreographed dance. Admittedly performed by people who look surprisingly undancey or unathletic. But impressive nonetheless.  And the little remote control vehicles used to return the javelin or shot to the contestatnts after they have given it their all. At the Olympics they were little minis, but today being sponsored by Sainsburys they are little delivery vans.

the little Sainsburys vans racing on the track

the little Sainsburys vans racing on the track

We see Jessica Ennis-Hill run the hurdles right in front of us and compete in the long jump over the other side of the field. Seeing these athletes close up is so much more impressive than on the television. The sheer physical ability. The highlight for me was Mo Farrah. The place went absolutely mental for him every time we caught sight of him; doing interviews trackside beforehand, warming up, and of course blasting round the 3000m leaving the rest of the field for dust. I felt Katarina  Johnson-Thompson missed out somewhat as the young Brit won the long jump at exactly the same time as Mo won his 3000m so all the focus was on Mo and she got sidelined.

The crowd were not as loud as at the Olympics and more partisan it seemed to me. The audience were here to support the Brits  and everyone else got a fairly lukewarm response. Apart of course from the man himself. Usain Bolt. Huge presence in all senses and he brought home his relay team with awesome ease. Inspiring stuff.

And so it was we tried to leave the Park to get on the tube home but the hyperefficiency of the Olympics was no longer here and the queues were terrible so we peeled off and attended Open East a festival in the adjoining park. Inflatable Stone Henge, various bands, food stalls and a drag show could not compete with our enjoyment of watching small children racing on a 40 metre track. All fairly relaxed and informal, they just randomly lined up in lanes and ran when the guy shouted “Race”, but they loved it. Who says kids don’t like competing?

july 054

Sink the Pink at Open East festival. More fit bodies but slightly different use of them.

Eventually we hoped the crowds would have died down enough to get on the tube and we headed back to Ealing. Youngest was ‘feeling for a pie’ so we tried booking in to the North Star but no tables for an hour, the Duke of Kent didn’t pick up so we tried the Grove. What a good choice. No pies unfortunately but everything we had was really enjoyable. Well cooked, well presented and tasty.  More restaurant than pub food really, but still with a pubby atmosphere.

And that was it – three events on the Saturday and still another day of the weekend left!

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