London 2012: History and expectation at the Olympic Park
By Christine Jeavans, BBC

For a few seconds I was nipping at the heels of Roger Black as he ran across the London 2012 Olympic Park. The Atlanta 1996 double silver medallist and his fellow athlete, javelin thrower Steve Backley, were in my wave of the Olympic Park Run - a five-mile race which saw 5,000 members of the public become the first people to cross the finish line in the Olympic Stadium.

I considered trying to keep up with him - it's not every day you have the chance to be paced by an Olympian - but I decided to spare his blushes, especially as it was his 46th birthday.

Before the start, Black had exhorted the excited runners - among them marathoning royal, Princess Beatrice - to "enjoy it, put a bit of fire in your belly but savour every step of your 300m in the Olympic Stadium because it's very special".

How right he was, but first there was the small matter of five miles to tackle, in a snaking route past the Olympic venues. Velodrome and Copper Box Runners, all in matching red T-shirts but some with a variety of patriotic accessories - kilts, Welsh dragon shorts, red, white and blue bubble wigs - whooped as we set off from the start line.

Some pulled a Usain Bolt pose, many took out phones to take pictures. We all waved to the crowd. It felt surreal and amazing to sprint the final 100m, seeing the same view as Olympic and Paralympic athletes will have this summer. Our names may not go down in sporting history for this run - except for the winner Tommy Davis, who beat the 1908 Olympic five-mile record by 0.2 of a second. But the day as a whole gave a glimpse of how vibrant London 2012 may feel when people manage to take up their long-awaited seats in the venues.

Oh and Roger, I let you beat me. Happy birthday.

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