MY TOP TEN LONDON 2102 OLYMPIC MOMENTS
10. Games Makers
Everywhere we went in London, the purple clad volunteers we there to guide, welcome and generally be as helpful as possible. Thanks guys.
9. Inspire a generation
More than a cheesy slogan, you got the sense that London truly mean’t that this Olympics will have a lasting legacy.
Everywhere that you went, there was a feel good factor. Winning all those medals probably helped!
Not long after his triumph at the Tour de France, did Bradley Wiggins wipe the floor in the Olympic road race, grabbing Gold with ease. Increased sales in stick-on sideburns seen.
6. Women’s Marathon
It was odd to watch a marathon, rather than participate. Even the torrential rain couldn’t stop the feel good atmosphere.
5. Opening Ceremony - Lighting of the torch
Rather than bigger is better, London again go for a stylish understated approach that is both classy and inspired. Again, Underworld’s track Caliban’s Dream adds much to the proceedings.
4. 29 Golds
Uncontrollable tears of joy. And that was just the blokes. Its hard to think 4 olympics ago we only got one gold. And not forgetting all the silvers, and bronzes too.
3. Opening Ceremony - Pandemonium
The highlight of the opening ceremony by far, covering GB’s history (even the bad bits) in a way that was original, creative and awe inspiring.
2. Opening Ceremony - Underworld
Whilst Danny Boyle quite rightly is praised for the amazing opening ceremony, little is mentioned of the huge part that dance band Underworld played, creating, mixing and creating such an appropriate soundtrack.
1. Seeing athletics in the Olympic Stadium with my wife
'Real Relay' runners overtake Olympic torch : here's a story from the bbc website
A group of amateur runners following the route of the Olympic torch look set to overtake it later on - but unlike the official relay, they are running every step of the way.
One has attracted global celebrities and sports stars, and has been followed mile-by-mile on TV and at the roadside by millions of people. The other is lucky to get a solitary figure on a street corner cheering it on.
But the differences between the official Olympic torch relay and the amateur Real Relay do not end there.
While the official flame is stopped in its tracks every night, the Real Relay continues 24 hours a day as part of its non-stop journey around the British Isles. And later it will move in front of its official counterpart in Dover.
"The Real Relay was conceived when we saw that the Olympic torch was spending a lot of time in the back of a van," says Kate Treleaven, one of the organisers.
"We sensed a missed opportunity and set out to recruit real grassroots runners from around the British Isles to run all the way around the Olympic torch route."
Instead of the golden Olympic torch carried on the official route, runners carry a metre-long baton which has a GPS tracker inside so people can follow the runners’ progress.
There are 672 stages of 10-to-12 miles in the relay, which started at Land’s End in Cornwall on 28 May - 10 days behind the official one - and concludes at the Olympic Park in Stratford, east London, five days ahead of the torch relay.
By the time it reaches London more than 2,000 runners will have taken part, covering 7,377 miles on foot, over 55 days and nights
Everyone has enjoyed playing a small part in something so much bigger which is, in its own way, making a little slice of history”
The Real Relay has had little publicity but word of mouth has seen it take off, Ms Treleaven says. She believes the tradition of a stripped-back relay without any “road support crew, sponsors and razzmatazz” is what appeals.
Unlike the Olympic torch, which caught a train up Snowdon, the Real Relay ran up the biggest mountain in Wales, along with the other three highest peaks in Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.
Runners are told where to begin and end their leg, but plan their own route which must take in each community listed on the Olympic torch route.
But is it in competition with the official torch relay? Ms Treleaven says it is not an “anti-Olympic torch uprising” but a chance for those not involved to feel “a little bit closer to it”.
And unlike the torch relay, the challenge is raising money for the charity CHICKS, which provides free, week-long respite breaks for disadvantaged children. Each runner donates £10 to the charity and the organisers believe they will raise well over £10,000 in total.
Team Golden Cap’s leg took in the highest point of the south coast of England, on the South West Coast Path. She adds: “I love the torch relay and I love running but I’m not going to be part of the official relay. This was something so unique and personal to the Olympics that I could actually take part in.”
Meanwhile, Tony Phoenix-Morrison, 48, ran from Blackhall Rocks to Billingham via Hartlepool with a fridge strapped to his back. He took the unusual decision because he had found it increasingly difficult to get sponsorship. ”When you take the baton and you know all the people who have carried it and all the kind of runs they’ve had - good or bad and short or long - that feeling of us getting together to make this happen was just extraordinary,” says Mr Phoenix-Morrison, who has completed several races with the 40kg appliance. Next month he is to run the course of the Great North Run every day for 30 days, fridge included.
The Real Relay is on course to overtake the Olympic torch in Dover at about 17:30 BST on Wednesday, and should reach the Olympic Stadium on 22 July.
"When we started the Real Relay 10 days behind the official torch we always hoped we would catch it up," says Ms Treleaven.
"To overtake the torch in Dover and to run past the same crowds who will be cheering on the official torchbearers will be an incredible moment. But for us the real excitement comes in knowing that the Real Relay is going to make it all the way to London.
"After 55 days on the road it will be an immense and inspirational achievement that reflects the unique spirit of Britain’s runners."
The organisers had contacted the Olympics committee to ask if the relay could end with a lap of the stadium in the Olympic Park, like the official one, but London 2012 said this would not be possible.
A spokeswoman said: “It is wonderful that the Olympic Torch Relay has inspired so many runners to get together in this way and we would like to congratulate everybody who has taken part.
"Unfortunately, we are unable to offer the Olympic Stadium as a finishing point as we have a full rehearsal programme under way there for the opening ceremony but we do have some ideas for other finish locations that might work for the organisers."
Ms Treleaven says wherever it ends the relay has been memorable.
"Even those who have run at half past two in the morning in torrential rain through city centres full of drunks have said what a wonderful experience it has been to be part of the Real Relay," she says.
"Everyone has enjoyed playing a small part in something so much bigger which is, in its own way, making a little slice of history."
BE PART OF HISTORY - AN APPEAL FOR ALL RUNNERS IN THE LANCASTER AREA
The official olympic torch is getting on a bus from Lancaster to Garstang!
Join me at a silly hour in the morning to run the Lancaster to Garstang leg of the Real Relay, an attempt to run the full 8,000 mile olympic torch route non-stop with an alternative baton.
As its non-stop, the leg is forecast for 2.25am on 30th July but this may change depending on the speed of the previous runners.
I would love to get as many great Lancaster runners as possible to help run the leg with me (and a bigger group may help me a;not look insane on my own with a baton or b: get arrested/run-over). Please pass the message on to anyone who may be up for it.
I’ll update the numbers/race time/ photos at lancasterrunner.tumblr.com and on twitter @irunlancaster
Bring more batons/replica torches/lightsabers/barry? with you and i’ll try and get the press.
About the Real relay:
The Endurancelife Real Relay is an exciting attempt to follow the entire route of the official Olympic Torch around the British Isles in one continuous non-stop journey, running every step of the way. Starting out from Land’s End at midnight on Monday 28 May, ten days behind the official Olympic Torch, the Real Relay will involve hundreds of runners from across the British Isles running through the day and night on an 8000 mile mission to reach London in time for the Olympic Games opening ceremony. http://www.endurancelife.com/realrelay/
medal monday ; great trail half marathon : this weekend saw me take to the trails (and fells) of the lake district in my first ever trail half marathon. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the start on a muddy field and skiddaw fell looming in the background. The run encompassed fields, fells, cycleways, trails, a few wooden raised bridges, a river, a few big hills and one monster fell (315m ascent!) and a 250m hill on the final lap. Finished about 18 mins slower than a road race at 01:48.18 but still came 11th which i was delighted with. As with all ‘@greatrun’ races, it was expensive to enter but well organised, a decent t-shirt and this rather nice medal.
medal monday : british 10k 2008 : in keeping with all things british this week, here is a medal from the really popular British 10k back in 2008. A run with more landmarks than the london marathon, its so packed you cant really do a great time but good atmosphere. Used to have rather dodgy medals, t-shirts and branding, but this year has seen Nike take over the marketing, so expect a much better medal this time, although entry fee had increased to a whopping £50! www.thebritish10klondon.co.uk
medal monday : windermere marathon 2012 : please see post below. So I ran it. Heres the medal to prove it. Or have i just changed the date! Such a great course, and a fab race, with so much effort put into it by the organisers, it would be nice to of had a different design medal to last year. I love the slate, but perhaps a different view / etching would be good for 2013? How did I do? Considering it was my 3rd marathon in 8 weeks and only decided to run 5 days b4 the race, OK. 2mins slower than last year at 3.13.53 BUT 19 places higher at 23rd place! Really chuffed as it was a really hot day and the hills seemed to of gotten bigger since last year!
windermere marathon 2011 : last year i ran the windermere marathon as a way of exorcising demons obtained while running the Rotterdam marathon rather poorly. It is a beautiful race (voted in runners world top 10 races) around lake windermere. Hilly, undulating and tough, last year i ran in 03:12:23. As well as the run, you are inspired by the 10 in 10 runners, who have already run 9 marathons, and are one away from completing their 10 marathons in ten days. They have just started the 10 yesterday, and can be followed here http://www.cumbrialive.tv/brathay10in10/
I am still deciding whether to run this years marathon (in 7 days time!) after already running two great marathons this year. Decisions, decisions… http://www.brathaywindermeremarathon.org.uk/
Book Club : Keep on Running: The Highs and Lows of a Marathon Addict by Phil Hewitt 'A charismatic, charming, funny - and, above all, thoughtful - memoir about running, motivation, ambition. Perfect, not just for those who do run - or intend to run - a marathon, but for the hundreds and thousands of us who venture out from time to time to run just a mile or two … A complete delight.' —Kate Mosse
Marathons make you miserable, but they also give you the most unlikely and the most indescribable pleasures. It’s a world that I love – a world unlocked when you dress up in lycra, put plasters on your nipples and run 26.2 miles in the company of upwards of 30,000 complete strangers. Phil Hewitt, who has completed over 25 marathons in conditions ranging from blistering heat to snow and ice, distils his personal experiences into a light-hearted account of his adventures along the way from Berlin to New York, and explores our growing fascination with marathon running. This story of an ordinary guy’s addiction to running marathons – an addiction hundreds of thousands share – looks at the highs and lows, the motivation that keeps you going when your body is crying out to stop, and tries to answer the ultimate question, ‘Why do you do it?’