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5,000 join Olympic Stadium run

Five thousand members of the public have become the first people to cross the finish line at the Olympic Stadium as they competed in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run.

The five-mile run was the first ever public event to take place in the stadium which traversed the Olympic Park in east London. Almost 43,000 members of the public entered a ballot last year to gain a place in the event and the chosen runners came from all over the United Kingdom

Princess Beatrice officially started the race before taking part in the event herself. The princess, who was the first member of the Royal Family to complete the London Marathon in 2010, also presented the fastest finisher medals.

She said: "I am thrilled to be able to play my part in such an historic occasion and it is fantastic to see the incredible transformation that the Olympic Park has undergone.

"I, like so many others running on the day, know that the experience of being one of the first to cross the Olympic finish line is an extraordinary moment in what promises to be a memorable year for the nation."

Applications to take part in the race numbered 42,678 and the 5,000 runners were randomly chosen to take part from across the United Kingdom. The first person to officially cross the finish line was Stuart Bloor, 24, of Crewe, Cheshire. Mr Bloor was born with Spina Bifida, leaving him wheelchair-bound since birth. He had his leg removed in 2007.

Mr Bloor beat his rivals in the wheelchair race by several minutes, to clock in a time of 23 minutes and four seconds. He said: "To be honest, anything under half an hour would have been great but to be so far ahead is unbelievable. It hasn't sunk in yet."

The first runner to cross the Olympic finish line was Tommy Davies, 26, of Loughborough, who won the race with a time of 25 minutes 11 seconds. He said: "To win a race is fantastic, but to win a race here at this stadium is something which will not happen again. This is a once in a lifetime thing."

Gail Emms, 34, silver medallist in badminton at Athens in 2004, was one of a number of ex-athletes invited to run. She said: "It's fantastic to be running inside the Olympic Park and crossing the finish line inside the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Park is looking superb now and it really brings it home to you how close the Games are."

A host of former and current Olympic and Paralympic athletes and celebrity runners were also vying to cross the finish line first. Former model Nell McAndrew, 38, was the first female runner to complete the race in 29 minutes and 21 seconds. She said: "I was just trying to use it as a training run. Never in a million years did I think I would be the first woman. I feel amazing, like I could do it again."

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