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Martin makes Olympic history

Mansfield District Council's Sports Facilitator Martin Cook has made history by becoming one of the first people to cross the finish line in the Olympic Stadium.

Martin (25) came 155th out of 5,000 people in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run on Saturday (31 March 2012), finishing in 31 minutes 43 seconds. The route took runners around the Olympic Park before finishing inside the stadium.

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

The five-mile run, which was started by Princess Beatrice, began at the side of London's newest landmark, Anish Kapoor's 115-metre red spiralling Orbit Tower.

The route took runners past the Basketball arena, the BMX circuit and Velodrome, Hockey Stadia and the Copper Box - the venue for Handball, Goalball and the Fencing Discipline of the Modern pentathlon, the Waterpolo Arena and the Aquatics Centre.

The final leg took Martin and the other runners through the official athlete entrance into the Olympic Stadium. They entered onto the back straight, and were cheered on by their family and friends as each runner received two spectator passes.

Martin, who was very happy with his time, said: "The race 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."

Martin was one of 5,000 runners randomly chosen to take part in an online ballot from about 43,000 applicants.

Former Olympic and Paralympic athletes and celebrities took part including Nell McAndrew (who was the first female to cross the finish line), Mel C, Roger Black, Steve Backley and Sally Gunnell.

Holly Willoughby and elite 400m sprinter, Iwan Thomas presented the event.

Martin is a member of Mansfield Harriers and Athletics Club and has run competitively for about 12 years. He runs 400m and has won gold at county and regional level and competed in national championships.

His goal for this season is to run at the UK Senior Athletics Championships in Birmingham in June. The championships are also going to be the trials for the Olympics.

Unfortunately, Saturday's run looks like being the closest Martin will get to the Olympics as he failed to get tickets to watch any of the events he applied for.

Published 02 April 2012

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