Saturday, April 25

Pre-Race Smackdown

I pick up my entrance pack for Sunday and am amazed at the scale: entering the ExCel arena (400 acres!) I am greeted by several bull-horns guiding me to 30 multi-media check-in stands, organised by entrance-number, manned by volunteers taking identity-confirmations, and providing race day numbers. From there, I stumble to the next queue to register online and finally - into the Great Hall (347,136 square feet!) which today includes everything running vs other events like the World Wrestling Entertainments "Smackdown." Oh boy. First stop: Adidas, which has several many thousands of square feet and I take advantage of a "free" gate-screening where my stride video'd and computer analys'd for impact-point inefficiencies; I also have a foot-pronation test - again, computer generated - to determine my shoe-type, fit and so forth. I buy a pair of shoes for $150. I then wander about dazed and check out the 1000s of runners, stalls and hype - there is a run-way show for Puma showing off their very attractive clothes worn by very sexy models doing all kinds of music-inspired contortions and wiggles - definitely not runners. I buy some gear. As many of you know, I am running for Prison Advice & Care Trust, which provides aid and ongoing assistance to families with a member in prison. It is a small charity but meaningful and I am fully behind it - we liberals need to do more than bitch and complain about the world's unfairness. Since PACT small, they do not have a stand. Other charities however have enormous booths and it is inspiring to consider the human effort going into their support. I pick up a few more pamphlets, buy some more running crap I don't need (sweat bands! but very stylish) and head for home, Walkman engaged, tapping my feet and loving London.