Newham

Great weekend of sport in Newham

21 July 2015 in 2012 Games and legacy and Events and Mayor and Sport and leisure
More than 24,000 runners and swimmers of all ages have taken part in a great weekend of sport in Newham this week.
The events formed part of Newham Council’s ten year partnership with the Great Run Company which has the ambition to create the largest mass sports participation events in the country.

The weekend started with around 6,000 school children from across the south east, including 1,000 from the borough, taking part in a 2km run around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park on Thursday (16 July) as part of the Great Run For Fun event.

It was followed on Saturday (18 July) by the Great London Newham Swim which saw 1,500 people diving into the Royal Victoria Dock for a mile long swim under the shadow of the O2 and Emirates Air Line.

And on Sunday the first Morrisons Great Newham London Run saw more than 17,000 people cross the finish line of the former London 2012 Olympic Stadium.

Olympic champions also joined in the events with Olympic Gold medallist Daley Thompson cheering on the school children on Thursday. Marathon runner Paula Radcliffe, and Great Run Company founder long-distance runner Brendan Foster, were also supporting the athletes and runners at the Olympic Stadium on Sunday.

Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, cheered on the swimmers at the Royal Victoria Dock on Saturday and started the Morrisons Great Newham London Run on Sunday before joining in the run.

He said: “This has been a great weekend of sporting events in Newham. So many people have had an opportunity to try running and swimming in some inspiring locations at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Royal Docks.

“The atmosphere around the Morrisons Great Newham London Run course was electric but I can truly say nothing can beat running through the Olympic Stadium and seeing the crowds cheering you across the finish line - it is such a euphoric moment.”

More than 1,000 Newham residents were able to participate in the weekend’s events for free.

Sir Robin added: “It’s fantastic that so many people rose to the challenge of getting involved. Events like these are key to inspiring budding athletes to get up and become active.”

The Morrisons Great Newham London Run was the first event held in the former Olympic stadium since the London 2012 Games. The venue is part way through a transformation to become a permanent world-class sporting venue.

This summer the stadium will also host five Rugby World Cup matches and the Race of Champions end of season contest in November, before work continues to turn the venue into the home of West Ham United and a national competition centre for athletics.

Brendan Foster, chairman of Great Run Company, said: "Having 17,000 people running in the former Olympic Stadium on Sunday was  wonderful and from the look on everyone's face, it looks like they had a fantastic time. We've got some exciting ambitions for the Great Run series and if this is anything to go by, we're very confident that this event will grow over the coming years."

Paula Radcliffe added: "Running is such a huge part of my life so I was thrilled to see thousands of runners, of all ages and abilities, take part in the Morrisons Great Newham London Run. Being in the Stadium, where so many dreams came true in 2012, is really special. I'm so glad that people are having the opportunity to use this amazing venue."

The Morrisons Great Newham London Run is aiming to have 60,000 participants within the next five years, making it the biggest running event in Britain. Entries for next year’s run are now open at www.greatrun.org.