Teessider Jimmy Wattis is aiming to beat Great Britain’s 5000m gold medal hopeful Mo Farah across the Olympic finish line – by more than four months!
Jimmy is taking time out from organising Middlesbrough’s forthcoming 5k and 2k races to take part in the National Lottery Olympic Park Run this Saturday (March 31).
It means that the 58-year-old will be among the first to cross the finish line in London’s 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium, the centre-piece of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.
Along with 5,000 other runners, he will be joined by a host of celebrities on a five-mile course around the Olympic Park.
It adds to an exciting period for Jimmy, Middlesbrough Council’s sports events manager, who is currently organising May’s SABIC 5k Riverside Run and Asda 2k Fun Run.
Middlesbrough long-jump medal hopeful Chris Tomlinson helped race director Jimmy launch publicity for the two Teesside events – but it will be Jimmy who will be the first to fulfil his Olympic dream of competing at the stunning stadium.
Jimmy’s big day is the result of being one of the lucky entrants who was successful in a ballot of thousands of hopefuls across the UK.
Up to 12,000 spectators are expected to watch Princess Beatrice start the London run, which will be hosted by TV presenter Holly Willoughby and former Olympic medallist Iwan Thomas.
But Jimmy feared his golden moment would be snatched from his grasp when he suffered a painful knee injury in January that left him on crutches. “My knee became badly swollen as a result of long-term wear and tear,” he explained.
“I was in so much pain that I feared I would have to turn down the chance to run in the Olympic Stadium. I’d have been devastated because this will be one of the proudest moments of my life.
“Fortunately, the knee has settled down. Although I haven’t been able to train outside for several months, I have been going in the gym most mornings at 6.30 to make sure I’m in decent condition for the big day.”
For Jimmy, the run will rekindle the thrill of twice completing the London Marathon, taking part in his first at the age of 45.
“I love the buzz of crossing the finish line at the end of a run when you know you’ve had to overcome a challenge to do it,” he said. It’s the nearest thing most of us will ever experience to the thrill of winning a gold medal or scoring a cup final winner.
“There’s nothing to beat the feeling of elation and sense of achievement when you cross the finish line. That’s why I hope as many Teessiders as possible will get themselves out and take part in either our 5k or 2k events on May 13.
“For Boro fans in particular, the Riverside Stadium is their version of the Olympic Stadium, so it will be a thrill to cross the finish line pitchside.”
This is the fourth 5k event Jimmy has organised, while he is also looking forward to managing his eighth Tees Pride 10k in September. Both are complemented by fun runs.
“Both of May’s events are ideal for everyone, no matter what their fitness level,” he said.
“The 5k is manageable for most people but even if it means walking the 2k I promise anyone who does it that they won’t regret it. If you’re determined enough, you can do it.”
Entries for the SABIC 5k Riverside Run and Asda 2k Fun Run are flooding in. Both events feature an Olympic marathon-style finish around Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium pitch, while celebrity runners will include former stars Gaizka Mendieta and Colin Cooper.
With an Olympics-themed maximum 2,012 entries allowed in the 5k, would-be entrants are urged to apply as soon as possible via http://www.runmiddlesbrough.com. Entry for the 5k is £10 or £8 for affiliated runners. Entry for the 2k fun run costs £5.
SABIC is proud to be sponsoring the 2012 SABIC 5k Riverside Run.
The company’s support for local community projects ranges from charity to the environment, from education to encouraging healthy lifestyles, with many thousands of pounds donated annually to local good causes.
In addition to the Riverside Run, SABIC was delighted to help sponsor the centenary celebrations for the iconic Tees Transporter Bridge and is also supporting the popular Middlesbrough Mela in July 2012.
UK Site Director Mark Williams said: “Despite its worldwide outlook, the heart of SABIC in the UK is here on Teesside.
“We’re absolutely delighted to be backing the local community, encouraging healthy lifestyles and taking part in a key sporting event in the year of the London Olympics.”
SABIC is a truly global organisation with 33,000 employees working in more than 40 countries. Working in close collaboration with their customers in more than 100 countries, the company produces a vast array of products including chemicals, polymers, specialty plastics, fertilizers and metals.
In many ways, SABIC are already part of your life. From the food and drink packaging in your fridge to the clothes you wear and the car you drive, they produce the building blocks to products that are indispensable to 21st Century living.
Winner of the Chemical Industries Association’s 2011 Company of the Year award, on Teesside SABIC employs 700 highly-skilled people directly and a further 400 valued contractors, whilst also indirectly supporting many thousands of jobs, making the company a key player in the local economy.
At Wilton, SABIC operates a world-scale Olefins ‘Cracker’, producing Ethylene, Propylene, Butadiene and gasoline products.
The company’s LDPE plant at Wilton, producing Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE), is the world’s biggest of its type. The LDPE is transported to customers throughout Europe and the rest of the world, where it is turned into the plastic packaging used to wrap everything from food to electrical goods.
SABIC’s large production complex a few miles from Wilton at North Tees, just north of the Transporter Bridge, features a large-scale Aromatics plant and a hi-tech ethylene liquefaction facility.
There are also substantial logistical facilities, including major storage capacity and distribution services at North Tees, together with a cross-country pipeline network. The nearby Tees Port, a deep water complex at the heart of industrial Teesside, is the base for our shipping services that distribute our products around the world.
SABIC’s is committed to continuing to innovate to produce world-leading products from its Teesside base for customers throughout the world, whilst continuing to surpass industry best practice targets in safety and environmental standards.
The company’s Teesside employees aim to play a very significant role in helping SABIC achieve its 2020 vision of being the preferred world leader in chemicals.