London 2012: Olympic Park runners finish race
- 31 March 2012
- From the section UK
Five thousand runners have taken part in a race at London's Olympic Park, becoming the first people to cross the new stadium's finish line.
Members of the public, athletes and celebrities completed the five-mile run around the park.
Tommy Davis, 26, from Loughborough, was the first runner across the line in 25 minutes 11 seconds. Stuart Bloor, from Crewe, was the first wheelchair racer.
Model Nell McAndrew was first woman in a personal best time of 29:21.
Mr Davis said afterwards: "It's such a great opportunity to have been able to take part," he said.
"The park looks fantastic and I'll feel great watching the games knowing I've crossed the first line."
People were picked at random from almost 43,000 entrants from around the UK who joined theNational Lottery event.
They started at the Orbit Tower and passed many of the Games venues before finishing in the Olympic Stadium, cheered on by friends and family.
Finishers were spurred on in the final 300m by the sound of the theme from classic athletics film, Chariots of Fire.
Princess Beatrice officially started the event at 14:00 BST, before taking part in the race and distributing finishers' medals.
"I am thrilled to be able to play my part in such an historic occasion and it is fantastic to see the incredible transformation that the Olympic Park has undergone," she said.
Olympian Roger Black and Paralympian Danny Crates were among the sporting stars taking part.
The runners set off in waves from a point near the spiralling red Orbit Tower, and passed the Athletes' Village, Velodrome, Basketball Arena and other venues.
The final leg went through the official athletes' entrance to the stadium.
The 10,000 or so supporters at the event became the first public crowd allowed in to the venue.
'A bit sweaty'
Olympic rowing champion Steve Williams was one of the first competitors to finish.
He described the thrill of running in the arena: "I have only been in two Olympic stadiums and this is an amazing stadium. It is going to be a crazy Games."
Sally Gunnell, the 1992 400m hurdles Olympic champion, was also impressed by the venue.
After crossing the finish line, she said: "That was quite something. I wanted to have a good old nose (when I was running). I ran with Gail Emms and I think we did under 40 minutes so I am pleased with that."
Among the celebrities taking part was TV presenter Martin Lewis, who admitted the race had been a challenge: "I loved the last 300m and coming in to the stadium. The rest of it was a bit hard.
"I am now looking forward to a hug from my wife. I am a bit sweaty."
Meanwhile, 81-year-old Rowland Joiner of Grays, Essex - the oldest runner of the day - was happy he had managed to see the stadium.
"I love athletics and, like millions of others, I applied for Olympics tickets and I did not get any.
"So I thought this way I could still come here and see the Olympic stadium. It is great fun."
One of the successful 5,000 entrants was Jane Moore, whose husband, Ben - a keen runner and triathlete - failed to get in.
"He had told me to enter and then I got in and he didn't - he was quite cross," she told the BBC before the race.
The 43-year-old from West Malling, Kent, was due to be cheered on by her mother who, as a child, attended the opening ceremony of the 1948 Olympics.
Sarah Langborne and her sister-in-law, Penny Langborne, travelled up from the Isle of Wight on Friday for the event.
"I loved coming into the tunnel when they were playing Chariots of Fire, it brought a lump to my throat," said Sarah.
Penny said they both had tickets for Olympic boxing and football but didn't get any to the athletics.
"This is the next best thing," she added. "The atmosphere in the stadium was amazing."
Teacher Rob Green, 42, said he had lost six stones in weight training for the event, dropping from 18 stone to 12.
"I heard Seb [Coe] talking about the race on the radio and thought it would be something to aim for. I hadn't run a step before but I've been building up slowly," he said.
"It's the only time I will get to beat Mo Farah and Usain Bolt."
Each entrant was allowed two supporters' passes. All visitors had to pass through airport style security on their way into the Olympic Park.
Sunday will see the first fee-paying crowd at the Olympic Stadium when theGold Challenge charity eventtakes place.
The National Lottery is contributing up to £2.2bn towards the funding of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.