When you run into an Olympic stadium with thousands of people cheering as you pound the very same track that saw Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis & Usain Bolt achieve Olympic Gold Medals you get goosebumps. My Sunday morning was incredible.
The alarm went off at 6am and all I really wanted to do was turn over & ignore it, but it was race day…again. Not just any race day however, but the National Lottery Anniversary Run which would take me on a 5 mile journey around the Olympic Park and finish with the last 300m on the track in the stadium. The race sold out in hours and I was only lucky enough to get a place because my Twitter buddies were frantically talking about it. Thank you!
Each participant received 2 spectator passes for the stadium so Mum & Dad had come up to London for the weekend to watch. We arrived early to soak up the atmosphere and get a good seat.
As I walked to my start pen I spotted Paula getting mobbed by fans wanting photos. I was excited now! I darted into the pen and found a spot in the middle where it was warmer, it was actually quite chilly early on in the day. They introduced Mel C (she does triathlons now apparently!), Victoria Pendleton and Paula, who were all running, and then Sir Chris Hoy who was there to start the race.
The race was fun! It’s fair to say the first mile was carnage – narrow paths, too many people and a couple of points where we were forced to stop & walk due to congestion. However, after the first mile or so the pace & course sorted itself out and I had expected it to be busy anyway. It wasn’t a great view, if I’m honest, we’re talking tractors, diggers and a lot of what resembled a building site, but it was still the Olympic park and we all knew where it would finish. The course weaved around the Park and we passed the Velodrome, the Copper Box and the Orbit. There were several points where you could see people running in the other direction, I shouted out to a super speedy guy in a Chaser vest and he waved at me, everyone was in great spirits.
After about 4.5 miles we rounded a corner to the outside of the stadium and there was a glimpse of the track through the gap. I turned to the guy next to me and said ‘wow, just look at that’, he simply agreed. However, we would have to wait a bit longer as the course took us through the tunnel that ran under the stadium. It seemed to go on and on but the organisers were playing Chariots of Fire into the tunnel to get us excited and the anticipation was rising. Nice touch!
Finally WE WERE THERE, we were only bloody well running through the arch onto the Olympic track!! It was phenomenal. The stadium was full of spectators cheering, shouting, making noise and wanting you to run faster, what a sight – you can just imagine what it might have been like on Super Saturday. That last 300m all went a bit too quickly, I tried to look for mum & dad in the crowd but couldn’t spot them, then the last 100m came around and the only thing left to do was put my foot down and run like Mo!
Action shot, just casually keeping up with the boys…
I crossed the finish line and felt a little sad. It was over. I knew I’d definitely be back if they repeated the event next year. I got my goody bag and medal and it didn’t take long to find my way back to where Mum & Dad were. It was great to sit there and take in the atmosphere, just watching people run round the track enjoying themselves.All the runners were buzzing, massive smiles, people whooping at the crowd, dancing, taking photos and videos, everyone was loving it! It was a lot of runners first time in a race environment and I hope they enjoyed it as much as me. We stayed to watch some of the entertainment, the sun was now out and Little Mix went on stage to perform some songs.
Paula coming back to high five some of the quicker runners, what a ledge!
In conclusion, the race was superbly organised, everything went smoothly, it was a lot of fun and, yes maybe the race t-shirts were a bit big, but it was value for money and I got to run round the Olympic track! On the last 100m stretch I was even thinking to myself, I wonder who was running in this lane last year…
I’ll never know what it was like to be Mo or Jess or Greg on that night that will go down in history as one of greatest nights in British sport EVER but I did get a teeny weeny glimpse into what they experienced and that was enough to blow me away.