Sunderland student heading for Olympic stadium

Matthew Atkinson of Ravenswood Road, Red House, Sunderland, who has won the chance to run at the Olympic Stadium in London in an Echo Compeition.
Matthew Atkinson of Ravenswood Road, Red House, Sunderland, who has won the chance to run at the Olympic Stadium in London in an Echo Compeition.
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COLLEGE student Matthew Atkinson is pulling on his trainers after scooping the prize of a lifetime in an Echo Olympic competition.

Sixteen-year-old Matthew is one of 10 readers given a unique chance to run at the new Olympic stadium in London.

Matthew Atkinson of Ravenswood Road, Red House, Sunderland, who has won the chance to run at the Olympic Stadium in London in an Echo Compeition.

Matthew Atkinson of Ravenswood Road, Red House, Sunderland, who has won the chance to run at the Olympic Stadium in London in an Echo Compeition.

Matthew, from Ravenswood Road, Red House, is delighted at the opportunity – but admitted he is a bit out of practice.

He said: “I used to go out long-distance running but I haven’t over the past couple of years, so I need to restart my training.

“I am just delighted to be able to be part of the Olympics.”

The 10 readers will get the opportunity to cross the stadium finish line before the Games officially start.

The historic five-mile run, which celebrates the contribution of The National Lottery and its players to London 2012, is open to anyone aged 16 or over, of any running ability.

The course will run through the Olympic Park and offer access across it on a scale not yet experienced by the public.

The route will pass alongside the other iconic Olympic and Paralympic Games venues that The National Lottery has helped fund and where many elite athletes’ hopes and dreams of London 2012 medal success will be realised just a few months later. The run will end on the home straight in the spectacular Olympic Stadium.

Hoping to cross the finish line first will be a host of former and current Olympic and Paralympic athletes and celebrity runners.

Everyone taking part will receive a computer chip timing for an accurate running time, a souvenir finisher’s medal, on-course refreshments, branded T-shirt and a finisher’s pack.

And not only that, each runner will also get two spectator tickets for family or friends to take their seat in the Olympic Stadium itself and cheer them on.

•To earn a place, readers had to tell us when London last hosted the Olympics. The correct answer was 1948.

Twitter: @Sunechobiz