Running to the Olympic Park
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Running to the Olympic Park
2009-04-21 12:51:59   Author:SystemMaster
London 2012 was very much in evidence, with four of us from the London Organising Committee  getting up at a slightly obscene hour in the morning to take part. There we were, raring to go at the startline alongside Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales. One of the organisers dug out a CD, and soon Heather Small was belting out 'Proud' over the PA system and we were ready to pound the streets and parks of Stratford and think of 2012. Former boxer Michael Watson was also at the start for some extra inspiration.

The most striking aspect of the race for us was the fantastic marshals - a huge number of passionate volunteers  who made it their business to be enjoying themselves at the same time as making the event operate like clockwork. 1,400 of us raced down Pudding Mill Lane to be greeted by Olympic Delivery Authority staff who directed us with a cheery wave up onto the Greenway, the public foot and cyclepath which traverses the Olympic Park. Despite a bit of congestion from over a thousand people trying to get up to the viewing point at the same time, everyone then got a close-up view of the Olympic Stadium  - an impressive sight which hopefully motivated people through the rest of the race. It must have really worked with the winner, who sped up to finish in an astonishing 30 minutes and 14 seconds. We weren't quite as quick.

The rest of the course took us around the borough and through the impressive West Ham park. The volunteers were supplemented by supporters from the community who were in place along the whole the course cheering us on - a good taster for how the local community will welcome the Olympic and Paralympic Games in just over 3 years' time.

Crossing the finish line was great, and being handed a professional relay baton afterwards was a nice touch to this event. The 10k race is an important move to inspire an increase in sporting participation across the borough, and hopefully some of younger - and older - people taking part for the first time today will have caught the fitness bug. Next weekend the world's best marathon hits London, so good luck to any of those 35,000 people foolhardy enough to tackle 26.2 miles. I reckon I'll stick to the 10k at the moment, although my staff are working hard at persuading me otherwise. The most important thing of all was that we all managed to beat Sir Robin Wales, who also sits on the Board of the Organising Committee. I’m sure he was doing press interviews all the way round, but still – this means I can keep my head up high in all our meetings.  Phew.

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