KEEN athlete Denise Bell has achieved her running dream.
The 45-year-old nursery worker from Hartlepool became one of the first people to run in the Olympic Stadium when she lined up with 5,000 other people for the National Lottery Olympic Park Run on Saturday.
They ran five miles around the brand new Olympic Park ahead of London 2012, and Denise admitted: “The atmosphere was fantastic.
“It was just brilliant to think that nobody had ever run in the stadium before.
“There was a mass of red t-shirts throughout the race. I was buzzing when I finished.”
Denise, who is mum to Kelly, 25, Emma, 22, Rachel, 20, Abbi, 16, and Tony, 15, only started running in 2008 after seeing people taking part in the Race for Life.
Saturday’s event was a thrilling mix of entertainment and sport.
It started with television presenter Holly Willoughby and Olympian Iwan Thomas hosting live entertainment, including the first acts to ever perform within the Olympic Stadium which included the Ascension Eagles, Laura Wright, Killer Queen, Escala and hit dance troupe Flawless.
Two giant 100 sq metre screens meant people both inside and outside the stadium could keep up with the activities.
Denise, from Gladstone Street, on Hartlepool’s Headland, has also used the event to fundraise in memory of her mum Linda Harrison.
She is raising money for the palliative care department of North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust which helped her mum when she was diagnosed with cancer two years ago aged 63.
The disease claimed her life just 13 weeks after she was told she had incurable tumours.
Denise, who works for Footprints Nursery, in Tees Street, said she was treating the run as a celebration of her mum’s life.
Denise, who runs for Burn Road Harriers, added: “The best thing was at the end when you are running underground then come out on to the track. It was awesome.
“I whipped off my T-shirt and ran across the finishing line with my Harriers top on.
“The stadium is brilliant. It was massive and security was airport tight with all the scanning machines.”
Denise completed the run in 41 minutes and was cheered on by her taxi driver husband Andrew, 43.