There was just one word on the lips of everyone inside the Olympic Stadium on Saturday afternoon – history.
History was being made at the National Lottery Olympic Park Run all over the place. Wheelchair racer Stuart Bloor from Crewe made history by being the first person across the line while Loughborough’s Tommy Davies had the honour of being the first runner to pass the Olympic Stadium finish line.
Little did 26-year-old Tommy know what he’d let himself in for as an army of Fast Trackers – all clad in red National Lottery jackets – descended on him, pulling from pillar to post to satisfy the demands of a bank of photographers and national media who all wanted five minutes with British sport’s latest headline-grabber.
And Tommy’s exploits didn’t end there as it was revealed his time of 25 minutes and 11 seconds was actually 0.2 seconds quicker than the Olympic record for five miles – set way back in 1908. Yet more history being made on a day of firsts for the Olympic Park.
Aside from managing Tommy’s new-found fame, Fast Track – who supplied PR support to the event organisers Camelot – were busy ensuring the ex-Olympian and Paralympians, as well as an assortment of celebrities, were pointed in the direction of various cameras and Dictaphones to ensure the event got the maximum coverage.
The run was even give the royal seal of approval at Princess Beatrice started the race and then joined in to complete the five-mile course.
Inside the Stadium while the run was taking place, Fast Track were again in full force – coordinating the in-field entertainment to more than 12,000 friends and family as the 5000 runners all made history by crossing the finish line.
Former GB Olympian Iwan Thomas and TV favourite Holly Willoughby kept the crowd entertained, introducing acts such as dance troupe Flawless and electronic string quartet Escala.
A truly historic day inside an iconic venue.
The eyes of the world will be on that corner of east London this summer and when world class athletes create history in the Olympics and Paralympics.
And when they do, there will be 5000 history-makers saying ‘been there, done that.’
Several long winter months ago I spent many hours online reviewing the various Olympic events and applying for several thousand pounds worth of tickets. An Olympic summer was only just over the horizon and I imagined myself taking a few days off to enjoy a host of events in the Olympic Park; handball, swimming, basketball, athletics…...what would I get?
You guessed it – NOTHING. Was my Olympic dream over even before the venues had been completed, quite possibly?
But then along came the National Lottery Olympic Park Run and a chance to run on the track and cross the finish line, even before our Team GB athletes. I was one of the lucky 5,000 to get a place and my faith in the Olympics to inspire was fully restored. And so to Saturday 31st March…..My Olympics.
What a day. A typical cool and blustery London day after a week of Mediterranean heat but nothing was to get in the way of the sheer joy of running around Olympic Park to see first-hand a host of new venues all packed together to create a small but well-formed London Olympic Park. The highlight of the route was without doubt running into the depths of the Olympic Stadium……heart racing, legs burning to be met by the haunting and inspiring theme to Chariots of Fire – Vangelis at his best! As the route wound its way around the stadium the volume was building and then……out onto the track and 300m to take it all in (and a sprint to impress watching family and friends).
All too quickly I was over the line and it was over, one last look back around the stadium – mental note, take it all in and replay in 118 days when a lone runner will light the Olympic flame and the London 2012 Olympic Games begin. I was there.