It was April 1st but this was no April Fool’s joke. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and I was stood in a park in East London. The Olympic Park in Stratford to be exact.
The participants from all over the World* were gathering. With our wrist band and stickers on we were corralled into the appropriate holding pen. For as far as the eye could see, a rainbow of team colours.
It was interesting to chat to our fellow Olympians*, to hear their stories. All equally excited to be representing their country*.
The finish line clock, counting the time since midnight rather than of a race ticked over to 13:11:00. It was time! The people with walkie talkies and London 2012 uniforms appeared from nowhere and begun co-ordinating the 5,000 participants.
The snake of people stretched and stuttered, pausing in the cool shadows below the footings of the amazing stadium.
Following our flag bearer* we entered a dark tunnel with anticipation of what we would be walking into.
It was just like what I’d seen on the telly four years previous, watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing games. The parading representatives capturing the moment on a variety of cameras, camcorders and mobile phones!
Emerging from the calm darkness into the excited light of the packed* stadium, the feeling was overwhelming. It was a struggle to take it in. I was finally here, in the Olympic stadium. Not in the stands but on the track, smiling and waving to the spectators, exchanging excited glances with my fellow paraders who were sharing this magic moment.
I got myself into position; everyone knows 4 and 5 are the lanes to be drawn in and as the hatchings fast* approached I dipped for the line to take the glory!
Just moments later a trackside photographer was calling my name, beckoning me across to capture the moment before continuing on my lap of honour.
And what an honour it was, to be able to represent Maggie’s, the charity I’d spent the previous year running all over the world for, at the Gold Challenge event to test the Olympic Stadium. It was an experience that I will never forget; one that, during the Olympic athletics this summer, anyone who is watching with me will be bored of my regaling!
In all seriousness, it was wonderful to meet some more Maggie’s supporters, users and team members. And to know how sincerely thankful they are for my fundraising efforts made me feel so proud and valued. Thank you Maggie’s.
My fundraising has now broken through the £1,700 mark. You can still help by donating at http://www.justgiving.com/800kmForMaggies or even by retweeting, reposting or emailing people the link to my blog, https://runningdanw.wordpress.com
* Just in case: This is not factually true but a whimsical musing from my imagination on the basis that the Gold Challenge parade was in fact the Olympic opening ceremony.
You can’t be too careful nowadays 😉