It’s started as an eventful week! Back problems left me unable to move for two days and I picked up a chill the day before the Olympic Park Run, so I wasn’t feeling on top of the world. (Come on IDBS, where’s my personalized cure for the common cold?) But somehow I got there on Saturday March 31. It was worth the wait.
Along with over 5,000 other runners I descended on the Olympic Park and Stadium for its first public event. The Stadium was fantastic, with music and dancers keeping everyone entertained until we made our way to the start line.
Half an hour later, Princess Beatrice (minus that infamous wedding hat!) got us underway. A flat, winding course took us past all the main Olympic venues and gave us a rare first-hand look at the sheer scale of the site.
Too much, too soon
Like most of my fellow runners, I went off a little too fast. But sense prevailed (for a change!) and I reined it back in and managed to stick at a more realistic 7-minute mile pace throughout – not bad considering the ‘man flu’.
The highlight was running into the Stadium. Sprinting through a tunnel under the stands I entered the magnificent arena to 10,000 cheering spectators. A few waves and then a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to run on the same track that Usain Bolt and others will grace in a few months is something that I’ll long remember. The final 300 meters on the track flew by and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line in 35 minutes 46 seconds, putting me 634th out of 5,708 runners. (Actually, my GPS watch proved the distance was really 5.18 miles so I’m doubly chuffed with that time.)
One for the record books
The winner managed a ridiculously speedy 25 minutes 11 seconds, beating the official Olympic record by 0.2 of a second. Mind you, the last time a 5-mile race was actually held at the Olympics was in London in 1908. But it’s an impressive double; first to cross the 2012 finish line and another Olympic record for London – 104 years later!
So I’ll sign off from my brief but memorable 35 minutes of glory. Thanks to everyone for your support. I couldn’t have done it without you. And I’ll be back again this summer … as a spectator. But if any Olympic champions need a few tips on how to handle the course, I’m available!
We’re like that at IDBS, always passing on our knowledge for the greater good.