By Melinda Edwards
THE theme song to Chariots of Fire plays from the speakers, pushing me on. I must keep going; I’m almost there. I can see light at the end of the long tunnel I am running through and as I come into that light, thousands of people are cheering. I can’t help but smile and it’s now I realise how incredibly lucky I am to be here. My excitement grows ten-fold as I approach the last 300 metres of my five-mile run in the new London Olympic Stadium. Despite being one of 5,000 runners chosen simply because my name was picked from a ballot, the feeling I’m experiencing is one of adrenalin, achievement and pride. This must be how the real athletes feel.
Feeling, if only for a mere moment, what it must be like to cross the Olympic finish line is pretty special. I’ve just run on the very track where many talented sports people will be sprinting, urging and willing themselves across the finish line in four months’ time. In a bid to make the most of my five minutes of “athlete” glory, I can now say I beat the 2012 athletes to the punch. The run itself was a fantastic insight into the Olympic Park for me and my cheering friends, and I’m sure many others, who won’t have the chance to get near the Games during the summer. To run past the iconic venues of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games in what was the first staged event to be held there, made me wish I had been born with enough talent to make it to the big time.
Yet even living in the host city and knowing full well that I was about to embark on a run that over 40,000 people entered to take part in, I never really felt the connection to the Olympic Games. I’ve seen the hype on the tele, of Boris’ team ‘cleaning up’ London, the unveiling of the athlete’s kit and even had a sneak peek at the Park from the Stratford Westfield after many a shopping trip there. But after actually running in front of the cheering crowds and feeling inspired by what the athletes are going to experience in front of a fully packed Stadium, I feel more excited about the Olympics now than I ever have, and probably ever will. The 2012 Games will be a great boost, not just for Aussie patriotism when our green and gold medal hopefuls land in the UK, but for British pride too – it’s inflated mine that is for sure. Look out London, Olympic fever has officially hit.
Are you excited about London 2012? Tell us why below: