I went to the Olympic Park during the London 2012 Summer Olympics and decided that, when it reopens, I will go for a run around the park. There were all sorts of scenic paths, it is a motivational setting, and visiting it again would bring back great memories.
We went on a long weekend to Munich in December 2012 and visited the Olympic Park there. I watched with envy at the locals jogging around their Olympic Park (despite the ice and the snow) and very much looked forward to the full opening of the London Olympic Park.
I got a sneak peak of the London venue by taking part in the Newham Anniversary run in July 2013 as the route covered much of the park and ended with a lap of the stadium. It was still a building site though and I took part more for the opportunity to run in the stadium.
On Saturday 5th April 2014 the London Olympic Park finally fully reopened. We visited the park that day and I saw that it would still be a great venue for a run – it is open 24 hours, there are many routes and trails, and it still very much contains the spirit of the Olympics.
The following Saturday I left the flat at about 6am, got the train over to East London, and went for a 15 kilometre run around the Olympic Park.
As I ran towards the stadium I was immediately struck by the fact that I felt like the only person in the park. During the Summer Olympics I had been one of probably 100,000 people at the venue. Today I couldn’t see another person at all. It was a very special feeling.
I decided to do a lap of the South Park by heading down to the South Lawn, up along the Waterworks River to Carpenters Lock and then back down along the City Mill River (there was a lovely close-up view of the stadium) and back to the fountain.
After that I ran up to the north side of the park and did a few laps around the edge of the Lea Valley Velopark (a lap of the building is 400 metres), Alfred’s Meadow on the east side and then Hopkin’s field on the west side. There were all sorts of trails and routes hidden away.
It was difficult to set a fast time as I was too distracted looking around and working out where I wanted to run next, and also there were a few routes which were cut off at the end forcing me to turn back, but now I have a good idea of what is where and what route to take.
I saw about twenty other joggers in the park and a couple of cyclists. One of the joggers smiled and waved but the others kept themselves to themselves. Some were training hard while others were stopping to look around the park and take photographs.
I wanted to stay for longer but was starting to tire and also knew it was going to take an hour to get home so decided to stop there. I had achieved my ambition of going for an early morning run around the Olympic Park, and knew it is going to be the first of many more.