25
Jul
2011

Virgin Active’s London Triathlon

Watching people do sport is arguably even better than doing it yourself. You get to feel your pulse racing and a surge of inspiration without having to actually get sweaty and wheezy. Watching people who are actually good at sport is even better – you know you could never be that good, so you don’t even need to feel guilty for not taking part. (NB:  If you actually are or could be that good, then why the hell aren’t you out there now, winning gold medals and trophies and stuff?)

The London Triathlon is one of those occasions, and happily it takes place in areas which provide many an opportunity for spectators to stare in mingled horror and admiration. The whole thing is based around the ExCel Centre in the Docklands, with the transition and finish taking place indoors but the rest of it on various tracks and routes around the area.

The general idea is that the Saturday is a kind of warm-up for the Sunday, on which the properly hardcore events will be taking place. On that scale of values, WW1 was just a warm-up for WW2, but those sporty types need to put things within their own perspective. Basically, the sprints and the relays are happening on the Saturday, and then on Sunday the Olympic-level bad boys are coming on the scene. The Olympic distances covered on Sunday are a 1500m swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run. Good luck with that, you crazy overachievers, you.

The Saturday will include the relay teams, in which Richard Branson and his band of merry men (and/or women) will be participating, and other famous faces will include Mel C of the Spice Girls (harking back to many a happy school disco), Nell McAndrew (harking back to many a faux-classy Page 3 spread) and Matt Willis (whom I have kindly looked up for you, and he apparently used to be with Busted. Remember them?), leading in the way in trying to encourage people to get some exercise.

If you do fancy popping along to cheer or to harangue Richard Branson about your delayed Virgin flight as he puffs past, there will be various spots near the ExCel Centre to park yourself. The bike routes on the Sunday go all the way to Westminster and Tower Bridge, so if you’re around there at that time you might see people zoom past you in a blur. The run will go along Canary Wharf. The swim will take place in the Victoria Dock (lucky participants) and they’re even building a bridge for the event so you can see better.

If you’re not at all bothered about such things and find yourself wondering why you just read all of that, then I might add that if you live in East London, particularly around the Docklands area, then there could well be road closures, so public transport might be the way to go that weekend.

For more information about the event, visit www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk.

Image by jimmyharris courtesy of Flickr

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