This morning I took part in the National Lottery Anniversary Run and was one of the first people to ‘go back to the stadium’. This race sold out very quickly and there’s been a huge buzz about it on Twitter and Facebook so as I made my way to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park this morning I was really quite excited,
But you know what? If I felt like being critical then there were lots of things that I could nit pick about this race. If I wanted to I could complain about the ridiculously large T-shirts that we were sent to wear. I customized mine by inelegantly lopping off the arms and creating a V-neck – who wants to run in sleeves and a high neckline in a heat wave?
I could moan about the fact that with 45mins still to go until the start time the women’s toilets were blocked and close to overflowing.
I could be disappointed that most of the route around the Olympic Park now looks like a building site, because frankly – it is. Or that the course wasn’t wide enough for the number of people taking part meaning that the first two miles were full of stops and starts as people made their way through bottlenecks.
I could suggest that one water stop, placed before 2 miles on a 5mile course that’s being run in 25oC with no shade wasn’t adequate. Or that having to wait for a good ten minutes after finishing before being given any water was a bit rubbish too.
But you know what, I’m not going to complain about any of that. Because the fact is the last half mile of the race may be the best half mile of any race I’ve ever run. Running down the path to go underneath the stadium where the athletes waiting for the opening and closing ceremony gave me goose bumps.
Running under the stadium to the sounds of Chariots of Fire was amazing. But turning the corner and running into the Olympic Stadium itself may well turn out to be one of the highlights of my running career. The noise from the crowd was fantastic and the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. I actually felt a bit sick with excitement, or it might have been the heat by that point.
I waved madly at the crowd, hoping that Mr J might somehow spot me and get a photo – and he did!
That’s me at the back of that group of runners!
Sprinting down the last 100m was such a fantastic experience, thinking about all the inspirational athletes that had run on that track last summer, and here was me doing the same thing.
As I crossed the finish line all my critical thoughts about the race disappeared. What a fantastic experience. I’d have paid the entry fee just to run that last half a mile. Simply brilliant.
But take note National Lottery – you’re going to have to up your game if you’re intending on making that a yearly race. There’s a awful lot of room for improvement!