Race Recap: The National Lottery Anniversary Run #backtothestadium


This is going to be a long one.. so get comfy.

The Morning Of..
Me and Phillip woke up bright and early at 5am on Sunday. We got something for breakfast.. In my case, I had a Fruit and Oat Bagel with Peanut Butter and Jam. I only ate half of it. I wasn't hungry at all. I had 1 pint glass of water too.

We packed the remainder of our things including race numbers, safety pins, water bottles.. and head off at 5:45 to go and pick up Phillips Mother from work (who was running the race too). She works nights.. she worked from 12 till 6 am and then was coming running with us.. Mad.

We made the one hour journey to Epping Station, got out tickets, boarded the train.. and 30 minutes later arrived at Stratford. I've never been into London before except for getting off and on a coach at the Theatre.. so this was a whole new experience for me.

The Olympic Park was clearly sign posted from the Station, it took us about 10-15 minutes to get into the park. We arrived pretty early into the park, we had 2 hours to kill until race time. We had a look in the stadium, walked round the stadium, took pictures, located baggage areas, toilets and had a look at the starting area.

We put our belongings together in Phillips Bag as he was in the Red wave and he would be first back to pick up his bag. I had my energy bar and took a quick toilet break and then we headed down to the start area about 30 minutes before the start of the race.

Race Warmup and Start..
The Starting Area was very organised. There were 4 different waves with 4 different start times based on the predicted run times we entered. As I mentioned already, Phillip was in the Red Wave, His mum and I were in the White Wave.

Phillip headed off to get a good spot in the Red Starting area and Me and his mum headed to our area. We were right in front of the stage for the race warm-up.

At 9:45, the race warm-up began. It was great fun and definitely got us all warm. it was quite cold and muggy at the beginning of the day but was supposed to warm up.

Red Wave took off at just after 10 am and our wave was moved up to the start line. We had a nice pep talk from Chris Hoy and then we were off!

The Race..
It took us about a minute to reach the start line after our wave had been started. Chris Hoy was at the start line and he waved and smiled at us (and I had a little fan girl moment ;) ). I started my phone for route tracking as soon as we passed the start line. There was a guy in Fancy Dress Running in a Green Dragon Costume which was fun. During the half a mile, a guy ran off the track to take a piddle.

There wasn't 'much' to the course itself. The Queen Elizabeth Park is still under construction until Spring next year so the course was like a construction site. A majority of the route was roads with sand and rubble parts.

Some parts of the route were fun, there were steel bands playing at certain points on the route which helped to motivate me to run. There were colourful lanterns on part of the route, Lots of Marshall's shouting words of encouragement.

At lots of points, the course double backed on itself so we could see the faster runners and first wave running around the course and it also allowed me to see where I would be running next.

There was a water station at the 2 mile point. I was OK, but took a bottle of water to pour over my head as it was SO hot when we were running.

There were a few big slopes during the course too. In Cambridge, we don't have hills or inclines so I was NOT used to this bit and I struggled and my pace slowed. But what goes up.. must come down.. and my pace was a little faster on the downhill parts.

There was a 'mist' shower at mile 3, I wasn't overly impressed, I ran through it and it didn't really cool me down that much.

At about 3.5 miles, I lost Phillips Mum, she ran ahead and I just couldn't keep up. It was quite tightly packed in some areas as the road bottle necked.

At about .5 miles to go, we started heading under the stadium for the last home stretch. We had to run in a tunnel under the stadium and it was SO HOT in there. 

FINALLY, I got out of the tunnel and was on the last 400 m stretch to the finish line. The spectators were amazing and I got such a boost running out there even if they weren't cheering for me in particular. The green Dragon guy had managed to get in front of me from the tunnel. I was NOT about to let a guy in a costume beat me to the finish line.

So.. at the last 100 m.. I gave it my all and pushed to run past him and over the finish line. As soon as I crossed the finish line and started slowing down.. I just felt incredibly sick.. I ended up heaving 3 times and almost sick on the track. I managed to hold back.

I met with Phillips Mother further down the end of the track, we had to go back into another tunnel to exit the stadium. We picked up our runners packs and made our way back up the stairs to meet with Phillip.

My official time for the race was 45:47 which is a PB for me as I have never run a 5 mile race before. I am extremely proud of what I have achieved with my running and I'm very happy with my time.

The After..
There was a MASSIVE queue for red baggage collection so we went into the stadium to watch people still coming in. Little Mix were performing on Stage so we sat and watched them perform and then went to get our bag.

We then went on a hunt of the Mo Farah Cutouts.. and eventually found them after following some very bad signs for about 15 minutes. We had a profession Photo took and then decided it was time to go and find some food.

We walked around a couple of the shops first.. Ones we'd not seen before in Cambridge. We didn't buy anything.

We eventually found a YooMoo Frozen Yoghurt Stand inside Westfield Shopping Centre. £6 EACH for our ice-creams. We tried to guess the prices of them to get them free but to no avail. It was yummy though.

YUM!.. But 6 QUID?!!
After we'd finished, it was home time. I had to drive back, Phillip and his Mother fell asleep in the car leaving me to try and find my way back with no SatNav.

Overall, it was a really great day and I enjoyed every minute of it.

I'm hoping there might be another next year when the Olympic Park is fully finished and open properly. We will see.

Phew.... that really was a long post. I hope you all stuck around to read it! :)

I'm on the hunt for another race to do now.. but we are going away in September when a lot of the close races fall. We will see.

I hope you had a fabulous weekend. Enjoy the sun whilst it lasts!

Have you done any races recently? What were they?

Laura x

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