On Sunday I was one of the fortunate 12500 people who got a place in the National Lottery Run round the Olympic Park and finished in the Olympic Stadium in front of an estimate 20000 people.
The route took you round the park, and gave an opportunity to see the work they are doing to make it ready for next year, I hadn’t realised there was so much building work going on in there.
In total the route was 5 miles and was split into 4 waves, I was in the third wave, I have no idea how they decided upon the waves for reasons I will come to.
As with many mass participation runs these days there was a celebrity starter, this time Sir Chris Hoy. He had a few words for each wave and even took a picture of my wave which he tweeted, I can just about be made out in it if you look closely.
Once we were off I took the first kilometre steady, I had already said I wasn’t bothered about my time, and proceeded past the velodrome and of into the park. The volunteers offered much encouragement and the various steel bands playing on the course gave some more colour to the event.
As I went through the two mile point I noticed I was catching quite a lot of runners from the wave that started before me, and then at 3 miles I caught large groups of runners from the first wave, they started nearly 20 minutes before me. Now, as I said early I don’t know how they decided the waves, but I was certainly not on a fast run and to catch people who started almost 20 minutes ahead of me seemed a bit of a joke. Maybe it was done to ensure a flow of people into the stadium at the end, I don’t know but it did make for a bit of a crowded run from 3 to 4 miles.
The final section of the run took you into the back of the stadium, in the tunnels at the back and then finally onto the track with 300m to go. You could hearing the cheering crowd from outside the stadium as you approached, then in the tunnels it got loud, but when you actually hit the track the sound was incredible.
The run down the back straight gave me goose bumps, I actually slowed down to take it in and enjoy it. As I approached the 200m to go bend, I looked up into the crowd where my wife and lad were and throw the traditional metal horns. From then it was onto the home straight and I have to admit running down down the inside lane past the photographers, which for someone who hates having his photo taken is a bit odd!
Crossing the line and turning back to look at the crowd, gave me an idea of how cool it must have been for the real athletes when they were there in the packed stadium. I have to say this is one of those runs I will certainly remember for a long time, just for the crowd running round the stadium, incredible.
In terms of personal performance, my time was 44 minutes 10 seconds and I finished 4199 out of 12500, so I didn’t pull up any trees but that wasn’t the point, it was all about the experience.