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Thousands cross Olympic finish line

Around 15,000 people have followed in the footsteps of medal-winning stars as they were given an opportunity to race across the finishing line at the Olympic Stadium.

And they had a chance to line up against actual Olympians in the five-mile run as retired cycling champ Victoria Pendleton joined them in the first event at the stadium since London 2012 drew to a close.

They were taking part in the National Lottery Anniversary Run, which looped round the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and into the stadium, to run 300m to the finish line on the track where figures such as Mo Farah raced to gold last summer.

The event was organised to celebrate the financial contribution made by the Lottery, which contributed £2.2 billion towards the funding of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Competitors ran close to many of the main sporting venues, including the velodrome at which Pendleton won a gold for the women's keirin event. She was effectively banned from running for 15 years in case she injured herself during her cycling career - but after retiring last year she was free to move from two wheels to two legs.

Another cycling medal star, Sir Chris Hoy, started the race, which saw Pendleton on the starting line with Spice Girl Mel C and distance runner Paula Radcliffe, who was making a return to the track.

Pendleton was delighted with her time of 36.43 and the race in general. "It was good. I tried to pace it quite slowly but to get under 40 minutes was really good," she said. "It's hard to get into your stride because you're having to sidestep people."

But her interest in running is unlikely to extend to a marathon. "I'd rather run smaller distances, faster," she added.

Radcliffe said she viewed the day as a day to have fun, and not a day to look back with sadness at not having competed at London 2012.

She said: "It's not about thinking about sad things and not being able to run in the Olympics. It's about celebrating the fact that I can be running and all these people taking part and having fun. It's an amazing stadium and it's got some amazing memories already and it's just over a year old."


From Belfast Telegraph