A luxury guide on how to watch the Olympics free

by Lauren Attwood
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This year is the year of the 2012 Olympic Games, held in England’s vibrant capital city of London. The press, preparation and practicing of the last four years has Great Britain in a state of excitement that the final countdown has truly begun. People from all over the globe will head to the southeast of England to be a part of this historical event. Ticketed events sold out in record time, and the ones who managed to win some will count their lucky stars as the event of the year kicks off with a bang. As the title of this article suggests, there are certain free events to attend that you need not worry about queuing or selling your soul to be a part of. There are many events, such as marathons and triathlons that anyone is welcome to watch, and they are all happening within the surrounding areas of London’s famous parks: Hyde Park and St James Park. Whether you’re after an action-packed weekend or a longer full-week stay, celebrating the London 2012 Olympics for free qualifies to be a golden occasion to let you soak up as much of the sporting spirit as possible!

Road Races and Time Trials, 28th, 29th July and 1st August 

The Road Races are cycling events for anyone at any age. Spectators will enjoy viewing the start and finish at The Mall, alongside St James Park. It is located in central London and iconic in its splendid setting for races like marathons and more formal ceremonies. The Road Races (men’s and women’s) for the 2012 Olympic Games are expected to fetch around 15, 000 people along the route, so getting there early to pick a great spot would be advisable. The Road Race zooms through many points in London, crossing the River Thames at Putney Bridge, coming through Richmond Park, and slicing past Hampton Court Palace. The course then curves around Gomshall and back towards the starting line for the big finish, passing back through Busy Park and Richmond Park again. (Note that some areas around Box Hill and The Mall are ticketed areas) The men’s Road Race on 28th July is set to start at 10am and finish at 4pm, and the women’s on 29th from 11.30am-3pm (times are estimated based upon the day) The Time Trials for men and women take place on the 1st August, women from 12.30pm and men at 2pm. They both start and finish at Hampton Court Palace, which is the best place to be for this event. 

Women’s events, 4th and 5th August 

This opportunity is for women wanting to support their own and for men to come and see the reason why sport isn’t just a “guy thing”. The two most exhilarating events happening on the 4th and 5th of August are the women’s Triathlon and the women’s Marathon. The triathlon will be one of the best free events to witness during the games, with most of Hyde Park open for people without tickets. The sport brings together a 1,500m swim, a 43km bike ride and a 10km run for the triathlon. The women’s Marathon will follow suit on the 5th, and further details are given with the men’s Marathon below. 

These weekend events would be absolutely fantastic spent in the St James Hotel and Club, just a 5 minute walk from all of the Olympic action. It is set in an ideal location for all free Olympic viewing, just around the corner from St James Park and The Mall, and 2 stops on the tube from Hyde Park Corner. 

Men’s events, 7th and 12th August (perfect for the longer stay)

On the 7th, let the men’s Triathlon start off your stay at 11.30am in Hyde Park with the same structure as the women’s. For a map of the route, follow all links at the bottom of the article. Then on Sunday 12th August, finish with style at the men’s Marathon after a memorable stay in the St James, one of London’s finest luxury hotels. The men’s Marathon of 20+ miles (equal to women’s), starting at Tower Bridge, is perfect for anyone wanting to go the distance with a week-long break, especially combined with the men’s Triathlon. This event will attract distance runners from around the world, as well other members of the public. The event’s course is set to pass as many famous locations around London to make it the most exciting marathon yet. The first loop of the marathon is 2.2 miles, taking athletes to the River Thames, opposite the houses of parliament and past Buckingham Palace. The 8 mile circuit repeats three times before finishing at The Mall, as opposed to the conventional finish at the Olympic Stadium. This gives the crowds of London’s streets the chance to watch it all from start to finish. 

The Olympics promises to not disappoint, no matter where you are coming from or who you are supporting. Make yourself a part of history and witness one of these incredible events, now that you have no excuse for not having a ticket! See you there...

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