Some final observations on the sport, and the marathon weekend in London. I will see you all in Boston this coming weekend!
Some further thoughts on FLORA London
It is early Tuesday morning London time, about 7 am. I am sitting in the waiting area at Gate 17, waiting for the flight from Chicago to London to be loaded. It has been a long night. I packed after a nice walkabout Picadilly Circus and and several meetings today before I went back to my hotel. Noticed that everybody, every store, from Gap to Clark’s, was having a 40 percent off early season sale. The huge Nike Town, at Oxford Circus and Carnaby , was closed for remodeling until April 26. It did have huge window signs for the Nike sports band.
Checking out Soho a bit, I found not only a PUMA store, but a Vans. Also found a very cool Italian tapas restaurant. The idea, like Spanish tapas, Operativo, is to find someone and share different dishes. We tried a nice pasta, a wonderful antipasto platter and a very nice Chianti. After a little more walking, it was a taxi back to the Tower Bridge and on to packing. (Aperitivo, www.aperitivo-restaurants.com)
Took an airport bus to Heathrow, and believe it or not, very little traffic. What do you expect at 4 in the morning?
As I sit here, working on staying awake before my seven hour flight back, I continue to be impressed by the FLORA London marathon. With 35,013 starters on Sunday, the London team moves the equivalent of a small town around the city of London for seven plus hours. The BBC coverage, three and one half hours, LIVE, would be the equivalent of PBS giving Boston the same time live across the United States, so that all households could see the race!
I walked the Expo this year and was impressed. It is roomy, and reminds me of the B of A Chicago Expo. adidas had the prime real estate and was selling alot of logoed clothing and FLORA London gear. Nike was selling the new sportsband pretty well. New Balance had a booth based on their new Love/Hate ad campaign. I also went through Saucony, Mizuno
and ASICS. I liked the brochures that Saucony and Nike gave out on new product, and was amazed at the number of catalogs and brochures that ASICS gave out.
I also spent some time with the new my coach, a co operative project between Samsung and adidas, and am working on a testing module for review. I also found a new project from Nokia, with free software for a new online running community. The phones already have a GPS (Nokia 3100 and above) and I saw an upload by a Finnish runner, who had mapped his 23 kilometer course, noting hills and such, plus three great pictures of snow on the course, all from his phone. User generated runners-and it looked like good numbers, from all over the world were providing new courses to run and walk on!
As anyone who reads this knows, my requirements for an excellent Expo are pretty standard–lots of room between booths, a soft carpet, that is easy on the feet and legs of marathoners, and products that are not only appropriate, but also try somethings to pamper the marathoners.If someone is paying $100 for a marathon entry, and has run what they have to make the distance, then the least a race can do is put something back into the Expo to make the event a bit more enjoyable for the marathoners.
The press area had a working area, with ten to twelve workstations, where one could plug in and use wireless. The tables, and there were six to eight of them, were also in the media room. Lunch was served every day as was drinks and coffee. Wireless was available throughout the media area and it was free. This is a minimum requirement for an acceptable press area. The Media Center for the Race Day had twenty long tables, plus eight circular tables. Each media person had free wireless option in the work area, and that was quite helpful.
My final thoughts are ones of awe. The FLORA London marathon is this moving city, a moving testament to the health of our sport and the changes in our sport. Elite racing, and there was some historic racing here, continues to improve. There are enough surprises on both sides of the racing side, men and women, to keep it interesting. The challenge for our sport is to sell our sport in the future. The global demands of fitness, the need to keep health costs down, the carbon footprints of each man, women and child goes down the fitter that they are.
The future in our sport is to convince the great majority of the world’s population that their marathon effort may be walking around the block, but that the effort is important and that we in the running community are there to help.
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