First may I wish a happy St George’s Day to all English charioteers – may all your dragons turn tail and run.
Yesterday we paid our first visit to the London Marathon, having previously only watched it on TV. Younger son was running this year, his big brother having completed the Boston Marathon last week. The routine is to meet near the mile 11 post, close to Southwark park which has a playground for granddaughter.
It was absolutely amazing to see the runners, 37,500 of them, stream past. Spanish dancers, a mole who must have been cursing the sun, Smurfs, ghosts, fairies, serious club runners, those running for charities. I disregarded the élite runners, a small bunch of Kenyans with three pacemakers, since they get paid to be there. This marathon is now one of the biggest fund-raising events in the world and London is to be congratulated on organising it. The crowds were vociferous and good natured; icecream vans were doing a roaring trade, pubs had opened early; a local evangelical church had set up a coffee stall to boost its funds. A troop of jogging Morris Dancers arrived, to the great entertainment of our granddaughter.
Leaving aside the wisdom of running twenty-six miles, something the human body is not designed for, I was most impressed, particularly by the courage and determination of those runners who were just passing the 12 mile post when others were over 10 miles ahead of them and some had already finished.