Olympic Park Anniversary Run

Olympic Park Anniversary Run

Just under four thousand people or so arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, East London this morning. The run is five miles long through the park and goes past all the venues that became so famous back in 2012. I had declared a probable finish time of 53 minutes on the entry form of which I was reasonably confident having run 53.30 locally last week. This put me in the green start group, the third of four.

After a mass warm up, we edged towards the start line in the shadow of the stadium. The start was handled very well with each group getting it's own send off with a short gap inbetween. The official starter was Sir Chris Hoy who was dutifully high-fiving everyone as they went past. The chip on my number, pinned to my shirt would provide my official time, but I hit the button on my Garmin anyway as I crossed the line. Every so far there was a 'band on the run', drum bands and one brass band for music on the move!

The race moved through the athletes village and then at about 2.5km did a full circuit around the outside of the Velodrome. At 3.5km, I passed the Copper Box arena for the first time before passing it again about 1km later as part of an out and back section. I hate those... All those people coming the other way on the other side of the road who have already done it, it doesn't help! It was more or less here that I saw the only casualty that I was aware of; a young girl laying on the floor surrounded by medics, clearly troubled by the heat. They'd warned us to hydrate well and the sun was now fully out. lots of people were walking now. Too many people went off way too fast and the most significant hill on the route was immediately ahead. I switched to 'mantra mode' and recited the words over and over again: "maintain the cadence, shorten the stride". This was hard work, but I synchronised my footsteps with my breathing and kept it going. I would not walk. I didn't walk.

The final section took me past the Aquatic Centre, these days without the extended grandstand wings that it had during the games. 500m to go and the PA systems started play a faux Steve Cram commentary with the sound of a roaring crowd. I felt the hairs rise on the back of neck and started to push. I crossed the line in 51.09, two minutes 20 better than I'd done this distance before. My family cheered me across the line and yes, Bailey, my Westie was there too.

Perhaps it was the heat, or possibly the unfamiliar territory, but I found the race very hard indeed. I've run further, but I've never felt so tired at the end of a run. No stadium finish this year due to the pear actions for next years Rugby world up, but the good news is that I get first dibs on a place next year when the finish line returns there.

A great way to spend a Sunday morning and a mother shiny medal to boot! I love this running business!!!


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14 Replies

  • Errata!!!

    For 'pear actions' read preparations and although a colourful adjective was indeed called for at the end, I actually received 'another shiny medal'....

    No idea why my iPad camera keeps submitting upside down photos!

  • Sounds fantastic race and what a time Guess you felt it sooo hard because of the heat and also there is different pressure cos it's a race rather than a training run You must be feeling on top of the world

  • Well done Rob - especially in this heat!! Sounds like a great race and that's a great time! I have an "out and back" 10K next week so I am also dreading the 35 minute crowd passing in the other direction before I get to half way! :)

    Extra special congratulations on not letting them hills break you! Enjoy your celebrations... nice medal there too! :)

  • Whoop whoop! Well done Rob you did really well in this heat. Sounds like a great race and a great time too! x :-)

  • Superb post Rob and a pretty good time too. No wonder you found it tough- 5miles in this heat is a great achievement. Many many congratulations :)

  • I can see you like a medal!! I bet you'll wear it to bed! AT this rate you'll soon have quite a collection. I'm jealous cos I aint got one!

    That sounds like quite a field today and must be quite overwhelming, spesh if you are used to running on your tod.

    Good that you had supporters to cheer you home. Well done

  • Nice medal, well done on a fab time. It must have been great having all the bands playing as you ran, congratulations and I hope you are still basking in your success.

  • Hey Rob I was there too and did my first 5 miler! Wow it was tough....56.04 for me but had to walk a bit! I think I saw Bailey waving you on at the start. We're you in the white wave? Amazing venue and looking forward to next year and getting into the stadium. Well done great time for the run.

  • Hi. I was in the Green wave. Yes, the little white dog being high-fived at the start line by everyone was indeed my Westie.

  • You'll need a trophy cabinet at this rate! Great time and well run in this heat.

  • Well done Rob, sounds like you did really well in this heat, how many medals do you have now? it sounds like a good run to do... maybe next year?? Hard work though..... great that you kept going even on the hill, and i love that Bailey was there too with a wag for you :)

  • Only the the two medals! I've only just gained enough confidence to do these big public runs and I've done two in two weeks. Have to admit they're great fun. Will be doing more for sure.

  • Sound like a fab race to do with all those memories of 2012 still strong. Your building a great collection of medals there!! Congrats once again!!

  • You're very kind!

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