Women's Olympic Marathon:
Our time in London was during the Olympics, and despite the press coverage about all the empty seats at the events, trying to get tickets to fill those seats as remarkably difficult. Fortunately, Greg and I are runners, and the marathon doesn't require a ticket to watch the bulk of the 26.2 miles. Meaning, Greg was a good sport who let us get up early to be sure we got a good spot along the course. We were early enough that we each got to pretend run on the course. Not my best form, but the fake crowds went wild as I pretend won!
We were at a spot called the birdcage, where the runners went by four different times. This was their first loop, and the person who is highlighted by Greg's camera strap ended up being the fastest US runner.
If you watched the race on tv, you saw at it rained during much of the event. We each had brought an umbrella, so we made the best of it.
Hadley wisely wore bright green with a blue umbrella, which helps make it easier to spot us (she is the left arrow and I am the right arrow) when the BBC covered the race. We were on tv!
Unfortunately for this guy, he didn't have an umbrella and so he, like many of the volunteers, got soaked completely through. You can see the rain against his dark pants.
Buckingham Palace Changing of the Guards:
The Birdcage, aside from being a funny Robin Williams movie, was located right by some British army barracks in the center of London. It meant that prior to the start of the marathon, I saw these guys warming up and nonchalantly walking somewhere. I presume they were going to play an official start for the race, but it was funny to see them just walking along, not marching, even though they were in uniform.
When they left, we also heard someone calling out orders, and found these guys who seemed to be new recruits learning how to march in formation. They didn't have quite the precision down, but I imagine it takes practice learning to do much of anything in the big hats.
After the marathon, we went over to watch the changing of the guards because the schedule was all screwy due to the Olympics, and that day made the most sense for us. It turns out that also due to the Olympics, they do a very limited version of the process, which took only about ten minutes, not the forty-five I had read about online. In any case, these were the guards marching into the palace.
And these were the guards who were done with the 24.5 hour shift and marching out.