Monday, April 27, 2015

A promo for Join dementia research and Guinness World Records

I couldn't think of a snappy title so I went for the 'it does what it says on the tin' approach!

There are quite a few photos, some from my camera (which died and then was resuscitated briefly and is to be replaced asap) so I've divided my updates into 4 so they are easier to get through. This first update just covers Wednesday last week.

The London marathon EXPO

First I must start at the beginning which was Wednesday. This was the only day I had available to go to the EXPO (that's the exhibition held at the Excel centre where everyone has to go to collect their number and timing chip) to collect my running number etc. for the London marathon.

I had a presentation to make on the main stage at 3:10pm and then a radio interview after that so I didn't need to leave home too early in the day. However, I abhor tardiness and so always factor in plenty of time to get wherever I want to go, plus I wanted to have a look around the exhibition beforehand so I allowed an extra 2 hours as contingency.

Well thank goodness I did!

I checked that the trains were running OK several times before I left home and everything looked fine but when I arrived at the railway station I heard an annoucement that the train heading in the other direction had been cancelled. Even though it was going the opposite way it set off alarm bells in my mind.

Anyway, my train arrived on time but you won't be surprised to hear that there were problems. As we left the station the train seemed to be going very slowly and then it stopped and I sat looking at this view for 20 minutes whilst the driver and guard kept announcing that they didnt'know what the delay was but we were being held in that position for the moment.

It was actually rather interesting to see this up close as it's part of the work done to try and control landslip, which caused  major problems on our line last year
When we finally moved off they announced that a vehicle had collided with a bridge and that this was being inspected to ensure it was safe for the trains to pass under or over (I can't remember which). Well, at least we were moving again; until we ended up sitting in a station for another aeon until they finally announced that the train would be terminated there and we should get off and catch another train into central London. 

I did however use the time to hand out some leaflets for join dementia research to everyone in my carriage as I had a captive audience. I was wearing my JDR tee shirt in readiness for the EXPO so that was handy.

Taken on my computer before I left home as the camera was misbehaving

I won't give  a blow by blow account, suffice to say that a journey that should have taken 2 hours 15 minutes took 4 hours 30 minutes door to door, some of which was spent standing crammed into a carriage like sardines in a tin. At one point Mike phoned to check as I was OK as he was worried I hadn't phoned him to say I'd arrrived safely. This brought much hilarity in the carriage as I had to jiggle around to reach into my bag for the phone and I apologised for disturbing everyone in the process!

When I finally arrived in London it became a race against time to get to the EXPO. I had a tube journey then ran to catch the Dockland Light Railway to the venue. I found that I could shake my camera into submission to stop it buzzing and juddering sometimes and when I managed it I took some photos from the train to give a feel for the area:

Interesting patterns formed by railing and windows

A pretty church surrounded by modernist buildings

It was nice to see some greenery amidst the rather industrial landscape

I've no idea what this building is but I liked the patterns and colours 

A massive complex, part of which was a hotel

There were huge cranes everywhere - there was so much building work going on

Looking towards the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park - you can just make out the Arcelormital Orbit structure to the left of the centre

What are these armadillo-like structures? 

Hoorah, my final destination at last!

Crossing the walkway from the station you are left in mno doubt who is sponsoring the London  marathon

This is the Sunborn Yacht Hotel which looked amazing and very luxurious.

This year marks the 35th running of the London marathon and they were asking everyone to hold hands with a fellow runner as they crossed the line which is what happened at the first ever event. A lovely idea.

As you enter the exhibition you are greeted by a bank of booths and you have to find the one corresponding to your running number. As I'd arrived with only 30 minutes to spare before my interview I had to do a whistlestop tour of the exhibitors.

I found the running medal stand and in his photo you can see 4 marathon medals I'm hoping to add to my collection very soon - from the left i) the Tolkien marathon (September), ii) Kent Road Runner (May), iv) Battle of Britain (August), viii) Cakeathon (May)

One of the small stages where experts were giving tips on nutrition etc
I was there with Guinness World Records, as a charity fund-raiser, and because I've run with them 6 times in the past.  I was delighted that they asked me to speak even though I was just running this year rather than going for a GWR.

We were on the large stage in front of lots of picnic tables and seats where weary folks could take a break and listen to a wide variety of speakers plus fun games and a troopo of dancers.
We were interviewed on-stage for 10 minutes and I was asked to explain my reasons for doing it etc and it was an excellent opportunity to introduce JDR, which of course I did. I left some leaflets on the tables afterwards so perhaps someone will take a look. I also left some with the girls on the Alzheimer's Society stand who sadly didn't know anything about JDR so I must mention this them. ARUK didn't have a stand but maybe they will in the future as they have more and more runners joining them each year.

There will hopefully be some photos of us on-stage eventually but the nice people from GWR will be taking a few days off to recover from their involvement at the London marathon

Bye-bye exhibition. I hope my journy home is better…...

View of cable cars  I bet they have a fantastic view from up there. 

The O2 stadium
So what about the journey home? I have to confess that I was rather anxious, bearing in mind I had to get up really early the next day to travel to my marathon. I managed to get good connections from the EXPO to Charing Cross where I was dismayed to find that the train I was expecting to catch had been changed to stop only at the larger stations so I had to wait another hour for the next one. At least when that arrived everything went smoothly.

In the end I'd spent 7.5 hours travelling which is almost twice the time it should have taken!

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