London 2012 Anniversary Run – supporting RLSB

Burning off the lardbutties at the QEII Olympic Park

As the anniversary of the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games approaches, I’m reminded that this time last year, I was one of the many apprehensive Londoners/Brits who thought the Games would bring chaos to the capital (though I tweeted that I was looking forward to London 2012 back in 2008 on the closing of the Beijing games). I’m so glad I was wrong about the chaos.

Any concerns I’d initially had, evaporated on watching Danny Boyle’s wacky Opening Ceremony on Friday 27th July 2012. I was immediately hooked. Cynics all over the UK heaved a collective sigh of relief – it was going to be amazing. And in a bonkers British kind of way.

From there on in, I couldn’t get enough of the Games – totally addicted to TV coverage, iphone app updates and going to whatever live events I could (in streets, in parks, in squares, in shops, at BT London LiveExCel, and the Olympic Stadium) right through to the ‘Greatest Team’ parade on Monday 10th September (all compiled in this YouTube Olympics + Paralympics 2012 playlist).

There was no ‘chaos’. Just six weeks of unblemished, festive atmosphere created by excitable, friendly, chatty folk – friends and strangers alike.

While I was gripped by the Olympics, the Paralympics really was the main event for me. This advertising campaign succinctly said it all:

Thanks for the warm-up to the Paralympic Games

Paralympic athletics just blew me away, particularly F11 (blind) & 12 (visually impaired) long jump. From my own school days I remember how difficult the long jump was – the fear and anticipation of flinging yourself forwards as far as you possibly could into a sandpit only to get sand stuck in your clothes and shoes and everywhere. I can’t begin to imagine the challenges of doing that without, or with limited, sight.

Then again, it’s hard to imagine doing any sports, or most things actually, without being able to see.

Oksana Zubkovska (Ukraine), F11/12 VI Women’s Long Jump gold medallist

This Sunday, 21st July 2013, the National Lottery (a sponsor of the 2012 Games) is organising an anniversary run – a 5mile (8k) course around the re-developed Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. And I’ve been lucky enough to get a place through the ballot (green wave, no. 8601).

So ten months on, I can’t wait to go back and see the Olympic Park & Stadium. But more importantly, I want to do this anniversary run for a charity that helps people with sensory impairment to do sports and other activities – that’s why I’ve chosen the Royal London Society for Blind People (RLSB) and their Great Greenwich Give campaign, which is on 24th July. Great timing.

If you’d like to help me support RLSB’s services for blind and visually impaired people (no matter how small the amount) simply text RLSB99 £2 to 70070 to donate £2 (or an amount of your choice) or visit my JustGiving page.


Why support RLSB?
RLSB exists to stop childhood blindness becoming a lifelong disability. Their amazing work includes:

1. helping young people cope with being blind and live beyond blindness through an expert blend of education, sport, creative and developmental services, delivered in local communities in London and the South East

2. pioneering projects like the Conversational Internet, a smart solution enabling visually-impaired (VI) people to interact with information on the internet benefitting VI people world over

3. providing tailored learning and development at a residential college in Kent (where the likes of Darren Leach, paralympian swimmer, studied), and – in 2013 – expanding services to support VI people to live life without limits in their own communities across London…

RLSB’s ‘Great Greenwich Give‘ campaign aims to raise an ambitious £24k in 24 hours on 24th July, to continue expanding services for blind people age 0 to 90 in the Greenwich borough area. Find out more here.

Anniversary Countdown

Right now, it’s…

~ one day and 16 hours until the start of the Anniversary Run

~ eight days and three hours until the anniversary of the Opening Ceremony

And if you happened to notice the absence of LardButty blog posts last summer, my fixation with the Olympic & Paralympic Games may now go some way to explain that. But hopefully you didn’t, and were pre-occupied too. We’re London 2012 +1.

Related links:
~ My JustGiving page at

~ The Guardian’s coverage of the Paralympics 2012

~ My BackToTheStadium photos on flickr

~ RLSB’s Great Greenwich Give campaign (on Storify)

~ YouTube:Olympics + Paralympics 2012 playlist