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From the editor: How the Olympic Games has inspired others to Run Norwich

PUBLISHED: 11:51 07 August 2016

Copyright Archant Norfolk 2015

It’s apt that this weekend thousands of people took part in the Run Norwich event – just two days after the official start of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

I believe the popularity of the Norwich city centre 10km race, which is only in its second year, is linked to the last time the Games came around.

Since London 2012 there has been lots of talk about legacy – and whether there has actually been one. Too often I feel these discussions focus on negative facts and figures that can be found, rather than the positive ones.

But focus on the good for a short while and I’d say that in the four years since, the rapid increase in participation of running, as well as cycling, is linked to those defining images of the likes of Mo Farah and Bradley Wiggins going for gold.

This is why the Olympic Games, in spite of the many negative stories to emerge in the past few months, remains one of the greatest events we have on this planet.

People watch those men and women in action and can identify with them.

While other sports, in particular football, seem increasingly detached from everyday men and women, in the main the Olympics isn’t. The majority of competitors are people like Norfolk’s judo star Coin Oates, who spends hour upon hour training in a little village hall in the south of the county. When he’s not training he is probably desperately trying to pull together enough sponsorship to chase his dreams.

That’s why I hope that, as in 2012, once the Games begin people will forget all of the negative headlines regarding drug takers, the zika virus and Rio’s suitability as host.

Because to do otherwise is to discredit those who do not cheat, but give up so much to compete in their chosen sport.

Runners of all ages and abilities called on their inner Mo as they travelled around the streets of our Fine City.

I’m gutted this year I can’t be there with you, but know from last time around it’s a fantastic event.

Whatever your standard and whatever your target I want to end this column by wishing every competitor the very best of luck and that you finish the course injury free and with a smile on your face.

• If you have any news, views or feedback then please do drop me a line at david.powles@archant.co.uk

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