Princess Beatrice joins Newham Mayor and residents for Olympic Stadium run
Thousands had the chance to run on the track at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Saturday – before stars like Usain Bolt do so in July.
Early finishers among the 5,000 were spurred on in the final 300m by the sound of the theme from classic athletics film, The Chariots of Fire.
Members of the public, athletes and celebrities completed a five-mile run around the Olumpic park.
People from around the UK joined the National Lottery event, including 500 local people secured by Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales, some of which were lucky Recorder readers.
He also competed and came home in 42 mins and 52 secs.
He said: “I’m pleased so many Newham residents got to play a part either as runners or watching the action from the stands. It was a great opportunity to see the magnificent stadium up close and a chance to become a part of history as being among the first to cross the finishing line at a sporting event in the stadium.”
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.
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More than 40,000 people applied, with the 5,000 participants being selected by random ballot to take part.
Princess Beatrice officially started the event at 2pm, before taking part in the race and distributing finishers’ medals.
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.
Up to 12,000 supporters at the event became the first public crowd allowed in to the venue.
The first person to officially cross the finish line was Stuart Bloor, 24, of Crewe, Cheshire.
Mr Bloor was born with spina bifida, leaving him wheelchair-bound since birth. He had his leg removed in 2007.
Mr Bloor beat his rivals in the wheelchair race by several minutes, to clock in a time of 23 minutes and four seconds.
The first runner to cross the Olympic finish line was Tommy Davies, 26, of Loughborough, who won the race with a time of 25 minutes 11 seconds.
Former model Nell McAndrew, 38, was the first female runner to complete the race in 29 minutes and 21 seconds.
Former Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm, better known as Mel C, 38, ran the race in under 30 minutes.
After completing the run, London 2012 chief executive Paul Deighton said: “It was nice to come in here in running gear rather than a hard hat. It was absolutely tremendous. This is the most people we have had in the stadium. The team have done a tremendous job. I was behind people who were pressed up against the velodrome window so they could see inside, it was extraordinary.”
The eldest runner of the day was 81 year-old Rowland Joiner, of Grays.
Television presenter Holly Willoughby and 400m sprinter Iwan Thomas co-presented the run.
They entertained 12,000 invited spectators in the Olympic Stadium and introduced an array of acts performing on stage including dance troupe Flawless who appeared on the final of Britain’s Got Talent in 2009.
Newham Council also provided some of the entertainment at the event.
On Sunday, another event gave more runners the chance to use the stadium. Among them were girls from Sarah Bonnell School in Stratford. They were selected through the official test event for the stadium, the Gold Challenge. They ran on the new 100m track.
A man has proposed marriage to his girlfriend in front of 20,000 people at the Olympic Stadium at the same event– and she said “yes”.Charity mascot Wendell Raphael was shown onto a stage and his face beamed onto a big screen, after participating in a parade around the ground.
Thanking his girlfriend for her support of his charity work, Mr Raphael, 40, dressed as a super hero, then said: “This is not an April Fool. Bindi Bhambra, will you marry me?”
She was shown in tears watching from her seat and, to applause from the crowds, nodded her head to say “yes” as the words “She said yes!” flashed onto the screens.
Mr Raphael, an IT worker originally from Port of Spain, Trinidad, also took part in a race at the new stadium during the Gold Challenge charity test event.
He acts as mascot Super Donor Dan - wearing a red outfit and matching cape - for the African Caribbean Leukaemia Trust to raise awareness of blood and bone marrow donation, and donated a kidney to a friend in 2007.
The Gold Challenge saw members of the public compete alongside celebrities and sporting stars.