Residents relive games joy as stadium stages first event since 2012

22 July 2013 in 2012 Games and legacy and Mayor
The doors of the main stadium in Stratford’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park were thrown open to Newham residents on Sunday as they took part in and watched the National Lottery Anniversary Run and Family Run, held in association with Newham Council.
Sir Chris Hoy, Dianne Thompson and Sir Robin Wales at the start of the Anniversary run

Almost a year on from when crowds roared Mo Farah, Usain Bolt and David Weir to gold medals, the stadium track welcomed back star names but this time alongside the public, who made the 2012 Games so special.

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales, Britain’s most successful Olympian cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, and National Lottery chief executive Dianne Thompson, started the 12,500 participants in the five-mile run. Former Olympic cyclist Victoria Pendleton started the 2,500 people taking part in the shorter 1.5 mile Family Run. She also competed in the main event.

Others to grace the track were Paula Radcliffe, the most successful long-distance runner in British history, and Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm. Boxing gold medallist Nicola Adams greeted runners as they crossed the finish line with other athletes from Team GB and Paralympic GB.

Around 1,200 Newham residents took part in the main run, including Mayor Sir Robin Wales who finished in around 44 minutes. More than 350 Newham residents took part in the Family Run, which gave children the chance to cross the same finish line as their Olympic and Paralympic idols. Each runner was able to take two guests into the stadium to cheer them home.

Sir Robin said: “It is only right that so many Newham residents have played such a huge part in the first major event in the stadium since last year’s truly momentous Games.

“Not only have we been able to run on the track that greats such as Mo Farah, Jess Ennis, Usain Bolt and David Weir have graced, but we have been cheered on by our families and friends and got the chance to see up close how the park and iconic venues are being transformed.

“It also marks the start of a lasting legacy from the 2012 Games that will see many more community events for local people that can only inspire and encourage more people to take up sport. I am proud to have been a part of it. Once again we have shown that Newham knows how to host a party.”

The run was staged by Nova International and held in association with the National Lottery, the London Legacy Development Corporation and the council.
It is the fifth consecutive year that Newham Council has been involved in staging a major participation community run in the borough, and the second year it has secured the use of the stadium.