Tuesday, June 17

And They're Off

Starting gun (Madeleine is No 21)
Madeleine runs the 800m in the London Schools Track and Field Junior Championships having qualified several weeks ago and so I find myself at Mile End stadium in Tower Hamlets.  

My taxi driver, who drives me from Canary Wharf to the stadium, grew up in the neighbourhood but lives in Essex now - he can't afford London. His parents, however, still in the family house as his dad a bus driver who lives two minutes from the depot. They are also under pressure to move.

Since Tower Hamlets next to The City, and as the Olympics Village pulls the city's gravity Eastward, property prices and rents have gone skyward. Despite its urban and ethnic nitty gritty and working man local, property prices are on par with Richmond's leafy suburbs as young professionals arrive and gentrify. There is hardly a cockney accent to be heard.

Madeleine runs in a fast heat and unaccustomed to starting on the outside lane. She rockets forward but out of gas for the second lap. The 800m may be the most punishing race : lactic acid onset by lap one with one full-lap to go.