Yesterday, I had the opportunity to run in the footsteps of the London 2012 Olympic greats. Literally. As part of the National Lottery #BacktotheStadium 5 mile run, 10,000 runners were able to run the final 300m of the race on the Olympic athletics track.
It was equally as exciting as it was Tom’s first race!!
Looking very fetching in our ‘one size fits no-one’ unisex t-shirts. As part of our race entry we got t-shirts, personalised race bibs with our names on, as well as two spectator wrist bands. My Mum and Step Dad came with us to support us, as well as take advantage of going into the Olympic park again. My Mum was actually a Games Maker volunteer at the Hockey Stadium during the Olympics last summer.
After heading through security and collecting some safety pins we managed to bump into Zoe and her boyfriend Darren who were also running. Zoe had swapped her start group to be white with the rest of us. The race was split into 4 start groups based on predicted time; red for the speedies, white for those of us wanting to run hard, green then pink.
Our start time was 10.09 (rather precise), and we actually set off on time! We were sent on our way by Sir Chris Hoy- some runners stopped for a picture or autograph on the way past!
The course was very congested, as you might imagine when there are 10,000 people running a very loopy course. Sadly I quickly lost Tom but managed to stick with Zoe for a couple of miles. Before I started the race, I set my RunKeeper to 8.40 min miles, knowing that I’m not quite in the shape I was during We Own the Night when I ran 8min miles for 10K. I think my biggest running strength is my ability to stick to a consistent pace, I was bang on 8.40 min miles throughout the 5 miles!
Running through the Olympic park was…interesting.
It’s now more of a building site, with a lot of work still being done, and lots still needed to be done. It also meant that the terrain was quite varied. It was also not nearly as flat as I was anticipating, and this, along with the humidity, (and fitness levels) meant that I didn’t find the 5 mile distance as easy as I would have liked!
About mile 3, I lost Zoe and was on my own. I was so excited to run past Tom just before I hit the 4 mile marker. He still looked like he was going strong.
My favourite bit of the race was obviously the ending, as we looped back towards the stadium, you could feel the excitement growing amongst the runners. We were led into the vault of the stadium, under the seating, and ran a full loop within the stadium itself, with inspiration music playing. There were definitely some goosebumps going on, and I got a bit emotional. At that point, I wished I had just run with Tom and enjoyed the race with him rather than trying to run a good time. I wished that we would be running the final 300m together.
But as I turned the corner onto the track, and heard the spectators cheering, I just tried to take it all in, and imagine what it would have been like for last summer’s greats like Mo Farah and Jessica Ennis.
I don’t think I look that comfortable running the final bit of the course, and by that point I was hurting! I finished in 42.52- which I was pleased with even though it wasn’t super speedy. Added bonus of a new distance is that it’s always a PB!
Tom came in a bit behind me, in 46.39- having run the whole way. And enjoyed it I think!
Just after I crossed the finish line, a man that was waiting for his girlfriend to finish, got down on one knee and proposed to her. Luckily she said yes! I also saw that another couple got engaged on the 100m before the finish line.
Such a great race, despite most of the course, and the ridiculously hot tshirts. The race medals were great, however having only 1 water stop on the course before 2 miles, and a long wait after the finish to get more water.
Overall a brilliant race, impressive medals and the best finish line I’ll probably ever run across! If this becomes an annual race then the National Lottery have a bit of improving to do, but it’s well worth your entry free to cross the line in the path of so many greats. I’m hoping that Tom has been convinced that running is fun, and will sign up for more races with me in the future, if not only so that he can beat me…someday!