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Olympic Park Run

31/03/2012

On Saturday, Gemma Leadbetter and Steven Smith travelled to London to take part in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run. 5000 participants were lucky enough to gain places in this historic event via an online ballot, representing the first opening of the Olympic Stadium to the public ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games. Gemma reports :

Like many others, Gemma and Steven were keen to make their way to the capital to become some of the first runners to cross the Olympic finish line in a stadium which will play host to the world's best known athletes this summer. Each competitor was given 2 spectator passes so that family and friends could share in the speacial day.

The 5 mile route granted competitors the first close-up view of the Olympic Park and passed by many iconic venues that will be a hive of activity throughout both the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The route started 300m in front of the The Orbit, a large steel sculpture which, when finished, will be Britain's largest piece of public art, with its two observation platforms allowing visitors to view the entire Olympic Park. The race then meandered its way through the park, first passing the Basketball Arena and then the Velodrome - a magnificent building which has become known as "The Pringle" due to its distinctive shape. Runners then passed the Riverbank Arena, which will play host to both Olympic and Paralympic hockey tournaments and then the Copper Box, which will hold the handball games and the modern pentathlon. The last half of the race proceeded past the Water Polo Arena and the Aquatic Centre before circling the Olympic Arena. The last half mile took the runners through the stadium tunnels and onto the Olympic Track, where they ran the last 300m serenaded by the music from Chariots of Fire, being cheered on by spectators, which made each and every competitor feel like an Olympic Champion as they crossed the finish line.

Steven and Gemma both had excellent runs, with Steven crossing the line in 29.02 and Gemma recording a PB of 37.05. This was not only a day of tremendous personal achievement for the two DRC members, but also one of national pride and life-long memories. In the words of the unique red T-shirts which all participants were asked to wear for the race - "We were the first across the Olympic finish line. Life changing!"

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