Student Suzi makes sporting history in the new Olympic stadium
Press release issued: 3 April 2012
PhD student Suzi Gage has become one of the first people to compete in the new Olympic stadium, running alongside celebrities, former Olympians, Paralympians and even a princess. The 28-year-old was one of 5,000 runners selected for the The National Lottery Olympic Park Run, which was a five-mile run around the Olympic Park, taking in landmarks such as the Velodrome and Aquatics Centre, before finishing inside the iconic Stadium.
Suzi won her slot through a competition in the Evening Post, where five lucky winners were selected at random to take part in the first public event at the east London stadium, which was started by Princess Beatrice.
One of the highlights was high-fiving British running legend Roger Black en route to completing the five mile course in 45 minutes and 35 seconds – beating Princess Beatrice by 10 seconds.
While the 5,000 runners tackled the Olympic Park course, around 12,000 family and friends got their first glimpse of the Olympic stadium track as they were entertained by dance troupe Flawless and electronic string quartet Escala. The event was hosted by TV presenter Holly Willoughby and GB sprinter Iwan Thomas.
Suzi, who is studying for a PhD in Epidemiology at Bristol University, said: “It was an amazing experience. The route was great. It took us past all the main venues in the Olympic village and, although there's still a bit of building work to be done, it looks to be shaping up very well.
“They were playing Chariots of Fire when we got into the tunnel leading out into the stadium, which gave me the extra spring in my step I needed.
“Emerging from the tunnel into the stadium was really mind blowing. Hearing the cheering, seeing the track the Olympic athletes will be running on in August, and sprinting down the final 100m towards the finish is something I'll remember for a long time. I think it's likely to be the pinnacle of my sporting achievements, and I achieved a personal best across that distance.”
The men's winner was Tommy Davies, 26, of Loughborough, while former model Nell McAndrew, 38, was the women's winner.
The Olympic Park Run was staged to celebrate the National Lottery’s contribution of up to £2.2 billion towards the funding of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including the venues and infrastructure where Britain's athletes hope to fulfil their dreams this summer.