Me & Taffy helping Mo on one of his London 2012 training runs
When I queued at the start line of the London 10,000 race back in 2012, I never realised what an impact the other athletes taking part would have on me.
Mo Farah producing a sub 30 10k time at the London 10,000 in 2012
I am not sure I had even heard of Mo Farah before that day, all I can remember is just as I was turning onto the Embankment and around the 1.5km the runners in front of me seemed to slow a little and everyone’s head was turning to the right, a ripple of applause was going through the runners and the crowds and that was when I saw a group of male runners approaching the 9km mark (yes I am that slow but in my defence there were over 10,000 runners and a staggered start) and I later heard that the guy who had won the race was Olympic Gold Medal hopeful Mo Farah, see so me lining up on that crowded start line was actually me going out and supporting Mo on an Olympic training run.
From that moment on I seemed to hear his name everywhere, to be honest, I had zero interest in the Olympics, London 2012 was an inconvenience for me not a cause for excitement, being an East Londoner and having the Olympic Stadium only 4 miles from my front door meant a summer of extra crowded commutes, probably train delays, tightened security, I honestly couldn’t name you a positive. That was until I heard that the Olympic Torch was coming to our local Country Park and along our High Street, suddenly this was getting hard to ignore, I mean the Olympic Torch is famous, and while I know it wasn’t the original Olympic torch coming to Barkingside, the idea behind people carrying the flame to the stadium is a piece of history and even though it meant getting up at 6am on a Sunday morning, a piece of history happening so close was becoming hard to resist.
Shiny Gold Torch
So on that sunny July Sunday morning I dragged a grumpy husband and equally grumpy dog to Fairlop Waters Country Park to watch the Olympic torch be carried across the lake, from that second on, I was a little bit hooked on the Olympics, who was I kidding I WAS hooked, Swimming, Athletics, Diving, Gymnastics, I was watching it all, totally gutted that I hadn’t even attempted to get tickets, seeing empty seats in the stadium yet on the website being told there were no tickets available for sale
Running with 2016 10,000m finalist Jo Pavey
While I had already dedicated 2012 to getting fit, Olympic fever definitely inspired me further, don’t get me wrong I never expected to get to an Olympic level but I have been fortunate to do some pretty amazing things including running into & on the tracks of the Olympic Stadiums in both London & Amsterdam, as well as running with British 10,000m European Gold Medalist Jo Pavey and more recently chatting London Marathon nerves with Dame Kelly Holmes.
Me, Taffy, Jemma & Alice inside the Olympic Stadium before the 2013 Anniversary Run
I will never forget the goosebumps and emotions I felt running into the Olympic Stadium in 2013 as part of the National Lottery Anniversary Run a 5-mile race that took place in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and finished inside the Olympic Stadium. the last kilometer of the race saw us enter a tunnel which took us a whole lap underneath the stadium as we run underneath the stadium the theme tune to Chariots of Fire played, you could see the emotion on people’s faces and then you turn and come out and complete a 3/4 lap of the Olympic track, as you come out into the stadium the cheers were deafening, if there was ever any doubt that you could finish this race the crowds were not going to let you give up, those cheers were going to get you around, no matter how fast or slow. everyone got the same applause.
Me carrying an Olympic Torch during the 2014 Anniversary Run
Olympic Stadium in the background
I wish I still had the same passion for exercise that I had in 2012 & 2013, I really did get a buzz out of every event I took part in. I had kind of hoped that Rio would reignite that flame inside of me but unfortunately I think the time difference has meant that I have found it difficult to really follow the events I wanted to, although Ernie (my 18yr old Jack Russell) very kindly got me up just in time to watch Jessica Ennis compete in the 800ms last night and also watch Micheal Phelps compete n the 4x100m relay and win his 28th (OMG) Olympic Medal & Team GB win their 6th Olympic Swimming Medal our best swimming haul ever, so as I sit here writing this while watching the Olympic Women’s marathon, again knowing that me going for a little 26.2 mile run with Jemima Sumgong through the streets of London back in April may help her win the Olympic Marathon just as she did in London this year, I am determined to make 2016 count, I am determined to finish 2016 fitter and hopefully slimmer than I entered it.
Does watching sport motivate you, have you ever taken up an activity after watching it, or has the Olympics inspired you to start getting fit?
I would love to hear your stories & will be sure to keep you updated as to how I am getting on.
NB Between me typing this post & it going live Jemima Sungong won Olympic Gold in the marathon, hard work & coincidence or am I really a lucky charm to Olympians worldwide?