Sunday, 1 April 2012

First to finish

Yesterday I swapped the Hampstead Heath parkrun for the National Lottery Olympic Park Run: five miles around the freshly minted Olympic Park at Stratford with the last 300 metres in the stadium.

The Velodrome is finished, and now, so is the main athletics venue. However, there's still a bit to do and the first four miles were a little like running around a building site. At one point I even got a big pile of sand blown in my face. But all that was forgotten as soon as I left the athletes' tunnel and saw the track. Then it became the most exciting thing I've done in my life.

As I ran in, I could hear Steve Backley over the tannoy telling us runners to wave and immediately started waving like a furious flag. But no, this was inhibiting my plan to sprint to the finish line so I ditched the waving and, instead, ran as fast as I could.

I passed lots of people on my way to the end so I knew I was a bit quicker than usual, but was still astonished to cross the line and see 37 minutes on the clock. Had I really run five miles that fast?

No. I was looking at the wrong clock.

Putting aside that emotional roller coaster, it really was an amazing chance to live out my Olympic dreams. Granted, in my dreams I tend to finish first, not 3215th, but then, you can't have everything.

(Stats: 5 miles; 45.58; 9.11 minute/mile - would have been faster but I was saving my energy for the last lap. Honest.)

(Pics: Stadium mid-race; 'First' across the line medal; Either Wenlock or Mandeville, not sure which.)

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