Mo Farah winning the race
But what struck me at the 10k was how humbling it can be to watch sport become a force for good and social change. The elite wave of runners started, then the club wave and then the fun runners, who inevitably run for charity. I couldn't help thinking how such events render a large part of the Big Society concept unnecessary. People put themselves out to help each other all the time. If David Cameron thinks we all need prompting, to be frank, that probably says more about him and his inner circle than the rest of British society.
However I do think sport could offer more and we don't seem to want to let it. Are we wasting a huge opportunity here? We're constantly hearing how young black men don't have enough role models. Yet top British black athletes such as Mo Farah, who flew back to race in his home town, don't get anywhere near as much press coverage as that footballing muppet John Terry. In fact, when was the last time you read the sports section of a newspaper and it wasn't dominated by (male) football, cricket and rugby? There are over 30 sports at the Olympics. Wouldn't now be a good time to introduce a bit of variety? We might even encourage children rubbish at traditional sports to keep looking for something that might keep them fit. And what about using the Games to provide some female role models too? A report has just come out from Parliament saying five-year-old girls worry about body image. In the Games, hundreds of women are taking part who don't care about size zero. But instead of lauding them, we read how a top UK official believes a healthy heptathlete is fat.
And then there's obesity. We're paying over £4 billion a year to treat obesity-related illnesses and yet who's sponsoring the Olympic Games? McDonald's, Coca Cola and Cadbury's. You can't even pack a healthy salad and take it into the stadium to watch; you'll have to ditch it and will probably end up buying a Big Mac instead. I appreciate this is a direct result of much-needed money, but isn't the Olympics meant to be about something higher? Wasn't the original bid partly about the impact the Games could have, not just on London, but on a whole generation of British schoolchildren when it came to sport and overall health?
This sounds pessimistic. I do think, as a country, we're missing a trick with this one, whether it be through laziness, twisted perception or financial gain. On the other hand, last Sunday I witnessed thousands of people running in the heat and loving it, whilst helping others. One even ran as Peppa Pig.
I really hope that's the spirit that we see in July, August and September. That said, I'm not particularly upset about missing the joy that will inevitably arise for everyone travelling around. How I currently feel about missing trams in Sheffield is another matter. At least I can go see In Water I'm Weightless as part of the Cultural Olympiad. Although I'm still not quite sure what the Cultural Olympiad actually is...