Gateshead International Stadium was the venue for the athletics at the Games … I had entered the 400m, the 800m and the 1500m, being the longest available distances. I’m not at all sure I have much in the way of fast-twitch muscle … but whatever there is I’ve tried to train up a bit over the last couple of months. Nonetheless, I approached this lot with more than a little trepidation … also: “It’s all about the taking part!”
Lovely race, with more action than I had expected. Andrew Lewis, another GB runner, and firm favourite for this one after doing very well at the BTG, lead off very firmly, followed by a good Irish runner. I tried to keep up with him on the first two laps, and he came back to me in the third, so I had hopes of a Silver medal. Not to be, though, as he had more left in the tank on the last lap, and went past me again. Good race, though, and I was delighted to get a Bronze, my first track medal at these games. Quite pleased with the time, too … 5m 54s.
My 400-metre time really isn’t much to write home about, but at least this was a good race. The outright favourite was out in front from the start, followed pretty briskly by a South African, who seemed to be going well. Heading into the back straight, though, he seemed to be slowing down a tad, so instead of my cruising home for a Bronze medal, perhaps contemplating a wave to the Gateshead crowd, I dug in and tried to reel him in. On the line I was sure I was still half a yard down, but did a big dip anyway … and was amazed to see the results come through: I’d got the Silver by 0.08 of a second. Well-chuffed!
Brilliant first lap! Was in the lead at that stage – pity they didn’t stop the race then … Slowed down somewhat over the next lap, and the two who’d been in front of me in the 1500m went past … tried to hold on, but one more overtook in the final straight (nice bloke, good to see him get a track medal, tbh), so no medal in this one. Probably good for my mental health, not getting a medal in each race! Pleased with the time, mind (2m 57s) … a recent PB, and nearly 30 seconds faster than three months ago when I was trying to qualify …
Overall, this has been a fantastic week! Good to come away with some medals (two Silvers and a Bronze), good also to be fit enough to give this a good go, and above all, good to simply be here. The atmosphere amongst the athletes and supporters has been amazing … everyone’s got a story to tell, and a lot of them are very, very moving. Great to have been a part of it.