• Mon22July 2013
    10COMMENTS
  • My rules for running a race like the National Lottery Olympic Run 2013

    All prepped but I forgot to check TFL

    All prepped but I forgot to check TFL

    What runner doesn’t want the opportunity to run in the Olympic Stadium? When I found out via Twitter that 10,000 runners could indeed take part in the National Lottery Olympic Run, which finished on the track of the London 2012 Olympic Stadium, I was clicking the link like crazy. Honestly, I don’t think I have been that excited about anything online since The Outnet’s £1 sale a few years ago. And thankfully, unlike The Outnet sale, where I failed to score a Dries Van Noten dress at the final hurdle of the checkout, I was successful in winning a place on this prestigious run.
    Now that was back in April, I think, and I hadn’t really considered the race since. That was until I received the package in the post a few weeks ago. For alongside the tent-like-t-shirt was not one but two spectator bands. This meant that I could not only bribe the boyfriend to come along as I knew he’d be curious to see what we missed out on last year, he could also bring a friend along instead of feeling like a Billy no-mates sideline supporter (often his role I’m afraid). So here are some racing rules I’ve created out of some of the mistakes I made and observed.
    1. Always plan your route
    Let’s just say, the day didn’t start well at all. I’d prepped everything the night before and packed my bag with all the essentials: wallet, face wipes, race info, safety pins etc. I had, however, forgotten to check TFL. Rule of racing number one: always know how you’re going to get to a race. I’m not going to make excuses. I simply assumed that the line from Dalston would be running and when I found out it wasn’t, I didn’t exactly panic but I wondered whether it would be a repeat of when I used my climbing skills at the Paris Marathon a few years ago to make sure I was in the right pen.
    2. Take some toilet paper
    Thankfully, we arrived with about half an hour to spare and I dumped the boyf’ outside M&S with all my belongings, as I would not have the time to check it in, and headed straight to the Olympic (yes, Olympic) Stadium for pre-race prep. As all us runners know, a quick trip to the loo is almost always part of our pre-race routine. And as I stood in a rather long queue, I suddenly thought to myself, eek, no toilet paper. The girl in front of me was kind enough to give me a sheet but something to remind myself for next time.
    3. Try to get to the front of your zone
    When I first started out as a runner, I was always shy about putting myself forward. What if someone ran faster than me? Would I hold people up behind me? I shouldn’t have worried because as long as you have a rough idea of your time, you really should try and squeeze through to the start line. I started the National Lottery Olympic Run about halfway down the red zone and then spent the first mile or two weaving in and out of the very crowded lanes. I think I even said out loud: “this is impossible, it’s too congested”. Stating the obvious maybe but this race reiterated the importance of trying to get ahead of the crowds. Of course, if you’re racing with friends and not going for a time this rule doesn’t apply but in my time-chasing world, this is quite important.
    4. Find a marker
    Again, there were many people who just wanted to experience the feeling of running in the Olympic Stadium and timing etc was not an issue. There is nothing wrong with that. My aim was to try and get a decent time and if you’re the same then this rule may help. As early as you can in the race, try and find someone with a similar pace to yours or make it your mission to chase the “fit” guy in front of you. Stay back until the final mile and then pounce. I didn’t quite achieve that in this race for reasons I’ll explain later. Nevertheless, I set myself out a plan to pass as many men and women as possible once the lanes opened up.
    5. Be gracious
    Whether you’re aiming for a PB or just want to finish, it’s so important to be aware of the runners around you. It’s kind of like driving. It doesn’t hurt to use a bit of head action to see what’s behind you before you overtake or say excuse me when you want to get pass, especially on narrow routes. The water station at the National Lottery Olympic Run was particularly chaotic. In situations like this, take note of people behind you, grab a bottle of water and then move to the other side of the lane and once you’re finished, make sure no one is coming up on the inside or outside lanes before you discard the empty bottle.
    6. Tie your shoelaces
    As I entered the tunnel before the final “sprint” to the finish line on the Olympic race track, I noticed that my shoelace was not tied properly. I was in that situation where I really wanted to give it all I’ve got in the final 300m but didn’t want to become known as the girl who trips up on the Olympic Race Track. Even worse, I didn’t want to provide any fodder for a YouTube video. My moment of glory was thus curtailed by this rookie mistake.
    I had a lot to smile about

    I had a lot to smile about

    7. And smile
    It may not be the best race course, congested and full of people who take it a bit too seriously (am afraid that sometimes I do fall into that camp) but that doesn’t mean you can’t smile. The National Lottery Olympic Run was definitely an occasion to show off your gnashers. We were the first back to the Stadium and when I entered the race track, I heard my boyf’ shouting “Go Becs” and that support plus the fact that I was running where legends have made history made me more than grin from ear to ear. I was beaming with pride.
    The results
    Top 50 ladies

    Top 50 ladies

    Yes, I was there…

    Me outside the Olympic Stadium

    Me outside the Olympic Stadium

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