How Twitter saved the day

Gill Macaskill

The Anniversary Games have become a calendar highlight since the Olympic Games in London 2012. It was just as exciting watching Usain Bolt, Mo Farrah and everyone compete in 2015 inside the Olympic Stadium as it was during the Games themselves.

Ahead of this event, there is the fantastic Back to the Stadium run, otherwise known as the Newham 10k, which is open to all members of the public. As a runner, the opportunity to finish a race on the track in the Olympic Stadium is one that I couldn’t pass up and happily handed over my entrance fee.

When the race pack arrived, it contained the usual race number, information and bag tag along with two tickets for your supporters to go and see the end of the race trackside. This was great, but there was a slight hitch. With a husband and two young children, I didn’t want to leave anyone out, and so began the hunt for another ticket.

My first tack was to try the event organisers, but understandably, they said no, so what does the modern runner do when they have a query? Take to Twitter of course!

It wasn’t straightforward as not only did I need an extra ticket, but it had to match my predicted time — runners were split into waves and each one had its own colour — so I needed to find another runner hoping for a sub-45 with a spare ticket.

This is where Tamara came to my rescue. She replied to my tweet with the offer of a ticket, in the right bit of a stadium, fantastic news. After an exchange of DMs, we arranged to meet ahead of the race. At the same time, I discovered that she works for EdAid, an organisation which helps students finance their study through crowdfunding. As a student, this pricked my interest.

Having met in person and had a good chat — during the traditional long wait for the toilet — it was interesting to hear that the company is also committed to running and a group regularly go out together. I’ve been invited to join them and am looking forward to meeting them all and hearing more about how it works, I’m sure some of my fellow students will definitely be interested.

After finally getting to the front of the queue, we said our goodbyes and headed to the start of the race. It was great to see Paula Radcliffe set us going and it gave me a real buzz as I headed round the Olympic Park.

It was a great course, meandering around the Park, including a loop of the road cycling track (I’m definitely going back there with my bike) and taking in a stint along the now beautifully landscaped canal side.

After 9km, I was just about on target for my sub-45 time, averaging 7:18 min miles, then that last mile in fact the last km, went a bit wrong. I think running around in what felt like the concrete basement of stadium slowed everyone down and that last mile was a much slower 8:50, still, when I entered the stadium the thought of a PB finish evaporated as the atmosphere and the roar of the crowd blew me away.

Those 300m on the track were amazing, I felt proud and honoured to be running there, and, thanks to Tamara, thrilled that my family were in the crowd to see me finish. The marshals did have to encourage people to leave the track at the end, I would have stayed for ages given the chance, soaking up the atmosphere and sensing the history of the place. I’ve already signed up for next year, how could anyone resist!

I’m looking forward to meeting up with Tamara and her running group, and am hugely grateful to her and the fabulous Twitter running community.

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