Runner toes the Olympic finish line

Martin Cook
Martin Cook
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A RUNNER from Sheffield has made history by becoming one of the first people to cross the finish line in the Olympic stadium.

Martin Cook, aged 25, from Brightside, came 155th out of 5,000 people in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run finishing in 31 minutes 43 secs.

The route took runners round the Olympic Park, finishing inside the stadium.

It was the first time the public had access to the centrepiece of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Martin, a sports facilitator at Mansfield District Council, has run competitively for 12 years.

He said: “It was an amazing experience. The atmosphere when I entered the stadium for the lap was incredible - it felt very special. It definitely was a fantastic once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

The five-mile run was started by Princess Beatrice from beside London’s newest landmark, Anish Kapoor’s 115m red spiralling Orbit Tower.

Runners raced past the basketball arena, the BMX circuit and velodrome, hockey stadia, waterpolo arena, aquatics centre and the Copper Box - the venue for handball, goalball and fencing. They used the official athlete entrance into the back straight of the Olympic track.

Former Olympic and Paralympic athletes and celebrities included Nell McAndrew, Mel C, Roger Black, Steve Backley and Sally Gunnell.

Martin was one of 5,000 runners chosen via a random online ballot which was entered by 43,000 applicants. He hopes to run at the UK Senior Athletics Championships and Olympic trials in June.

Former Olympic and Paralympic athletes and celebrities included Nell McAndrew, Mel C, Roger Black, Steve Backley and Sally Gunnell.