Posted by: jackterrett | April 27, 2010

Week Eight: Egham Exploits and Marathon Madness

Despite being in the UK now for 8 weeks, I only finally this weekend met up with my old friend from my school days back in England – Mike Perera.  We both went to Sir Roger Manwoods school and he’s one of the few people I’ve kept in contact with over the years (usually staying at his house once every summer on our annual trips back to England and France).  Currently, he’s attending Royal Holloway, University of London, and is furiously revising for his final exams (he graduates in June as Undergraduate is only three years long in the UK).  After work on Friday, I took the train over to Egham (home of his University), met up with him and his friend Victor, and sped off in his old tiny car at ridiculous speeds down narrow streets (reminding me of many traumatic experiences of being a passenger in Tyler Prince’s car!).  We spent the evening catching up on the past two years, eating Domino’s pizza, playing video games (notably Fifa), and finished it up with a lift and abs session.  The following day was a great example on a day in the life of Mike (at least, during exam week).  When he wasn’t studying, we went to watch Manchester United play Tottenham Hotspurs with a bunch of his avid football supporter friends (on TV this time, I’m afraid).  As a Man U fan, Mike was very pleased with their 3-1 victory.  In fact, the day was chock full of football – we spent about 2-3 hours that evening kicking a ball around the local student neighbourhood (shadowed by signs that clearly said “no ball games”).  The evening involved more socializing and lazing about in the form of a tense few games of poker.  Except, this was ‘Dare Poker’!  In this version, the player is blind to their own cards, but can see everyone else’s, with the overall loser being forced to do a dare.  There is no skill involved per se, as you have no idea what your cards are, but it comes down to who has the balls to place a bet blind.  If you don’t bet (and win), you end up bleeding chips and, voila, you’re doing a dare!  Fortunately, I dodged that bullet, but three unfortunate souls were not so lucky.  What followed was a combination of drinking a “dirty pint” (any kitchen ingredients are fair game!), running through Egham in your underwear (past cops and chavs alike), and bathing in the water fountain in the high street!

On Sunday, I said a groggy farewell to Mike (7:30am…ugh) and got the train/bus into central London to watch the world-famous London Marathon!  The men’s elite race started at 9:45am, so I headed to Tower Bridge which was around 12 miles into the race.  As I expected, it was heaving with people around Tower Bridge, so I walked down the course eastwards, watching the wheelchair race as they came past intermittently.  After a mile or so of walking, the men’s race finally arrived and there was a fairly large front pack still jostling for position (see photo above!) including defending champion Sammy Wanjiru.  Soon after they’d passed, the women’s elite race whizzed past heading the opposite direction (I was on part of the course that overlapped – miles 14 and 21).  I stuck around to see the men return, this time much more spread out with eventual champion Kebede having a solid lead (Wanjiru was nowhere to be seen…).  I saw some of the mass race too, but didn’t hang around too long to search for the celebs (although I did see a leprechaun running!).  Before heading home, I checked out the finish line (very busy!!!) right on the mall, opposite to Buckingham Palace to watch (I guess I should say hear, as I couldn’t see anything!) the awards ceremony.  The whole atmosphere and excitement has really inspired me to run my first marathon!

Now, only a three-day workweek before heading off to Barcelona with Donny to see my sister!  I can’t wait!  Oh, and as I’m writing this, I only have 10 more work days left until I return to the US!  Yeah!

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Responses

  1. I can’t wait to see your sister with you either!

    PS I talked to two Barcelona girls in Berlin today. They said: everything is expensive and watch out for the pick-pocketers. And that you need to eat more vegetables.


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