In my last post, I gave you a little tease that I would be doing something exciting. Those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook will already have a very good idea what happened, but here it is in all its glory.
On Wednesday evening last week, I (briefly) met Paula Radcliffe.
How did this miracle come to pass? I saw a post from Nike Running UK on Facebook about the event, which was held at the Nike Fuel Station on the south side of Clapham Common. I knew I'd kick myself if I didn't, so I sent an email asking for a place. And I got one!
I'd guess that Nike had loads of publicity planned around the fact that Paula would be running the London 2012 marathon and when she had to pull out, they had to change their PR plans. It was quite simple. They asked everyone to go running with their Nike+ app and log it on Twitter with the hashtag #legendsrunforever. Simple as that. Go run in Paula's honour. So I did, we did, in our thousands. And some of us got the opportunity to go to London to see her.
I had a bit of a fraught journey to get to Clapham Common. I managed to leave work promptly and get the right train which then got delayed.
So I arrived at Clapham Junction later than expected to find that I'd missed the bus I needed to get.
Just as I was standing at the bus stop dithering, a couple of runners approached the bus stop. Their train had also been delayed and we decided to grab a cab together and head to the Fuel Station. What a couple of nice chaps - Martin & Miguel - and we had a nice chat about running as we hurtled towards our destination. Thankfully we arrived in time, queued up to get our free running t-shirts (white, with Legends Run Forever written in gold letters, very nice) and then sat down on the grass and waited for our heroes to appear.
First out onto the little stage was Carl Lewis. How exciting. A genuine Olympic legend and quite a witty guy to boot. Then came Paula, to enormous cheers and excitement. I hope she felt the love there that evening!
|Look! It's Carl Lewis! and Paula! (and some guy asking them questions)|
A half hour Q&A session followed, which was great, as it was Paula's first public appearance since she announced that she would not be competing. One thing that really stuck with me was Paula's response when she was asked what inspired her to go out and run. She replied simply that it was she loves to do it. She just loves it. I think that's wonderful, and I really hope that her recovery goes well and she can get back to it soon.
After that Paula came down onto the grass and was very patient while everyone scrummed around her clamouring that get their picture taken.
Paula was very gracious, and had the same lovely smile for every picture. She is a complete inspiration on any number of levels.
I was so excited to get my picture taken that I nearly missed out on the run that was taking place! I just managed to tag onto the back of the last group to set out around Clapham Common. It was great fun, with people from the Nike run club escorting us around the Common. Then there was a barbeque before it was time to head home. I got directions back to Clapham Junction from a lovely friendly Nike Run club member and walked back. As I got to the station, I heard "It's you again!" from behind me - it was Martin and Miguel, my taxi buddies! I had to wait a while for my train, as the line was still a bit messed up, but got home without issue.
What a great evening, massive thanks to Nike for putting this event on (did I mention that there was no entry fee, it was all completely free, including the food) and for giving us the opportunity to connect with not one, but two sporting legends.
I didn't think it could get any better than that, but Sunday's events proved me wrong (another teaser!!! I'm so mean to you guys).
Separately, I'm loving the Nike Find Your Greatness ads - this one in particular encapsulates everything that I believe about sport. This is Nathan from London, Ohio being Great. Enjoy xx