It’s already been an entire week since the Great Newham London Run; how does time have a knack of doing that?!
This 10k was a race I decided to run as my boyfriend had taken part last year, and loved it. Also, being honest, finishing a run in the Olympic Stadium where many of my heroes have finished (albeit to a slightly larger audience…) was too tempting to resist.
We took off for London the Saturday before, taking the Megabus from Bath and the tube to Whitechapel. Here, we stayed in a very lovely Holiday Inn, with free coffee and a room upgrade which we were very happy to receive!
Sipping my lovely free latte in the cool reception, my boyfriend suggested we go for a walk – so we took in some sights around London, before heading back for a carb-loading feast in the hotel.
One lesson I have learned in that however, is that if you are going to eat bread and hummus the night before a race, just make sure it’s not the best part of a loaf and most of a tub of hummus… otherwise, you will get a very sore tummy like we both did!
The next morning, we got up bright and early to catch the bus to the Olympic Park. The sun was shining, which was a very good sign, so after some pancakes we hopped on the bus and made it in good time.
The one thing that stood out to me before getting to the race village, was the security. There were armed police walking around, as well as quite a number of security guards near the Westfield shopping centre nearby. Their presence was definitely quite comforting, and we really appreciated the extra efforts.
After speedily dropping our bags off, we scurried to our race pen, where we were being warmed up by a quite enthusiastic trainer.The main message that was hammered out over the megaphone before the race started was: water – drink it, and lots of it! Given that it was somewhere in the 20s that day, it was definitely a point worth hammering home.
The claxons went, and we were off – running past the start line, past the massive, squiggly slide-thing and out into the road. There were loads of runners in our wave, and at first people jostled into me before the course widened out a little.
There were plenty of speakers, blaring happy, sunny music out along the way – and while the crowds weren’t gigantic (owing to its location), the course was really pleasant and good fun to run. Some gentle inclines on the way around near the Velodrome made way to the declines (so fun to run down!) and there were bands and plenty of live music to keep you going on the way around.
The heat started to take its toll on my time however, and in parts I slowed. But when you enter the first track of the Olympic Stadium on your last km, the knowledge of where you are and the springy track bounces you back into action – or at least, it did for me.
You run around the outside track, then go inside, underneath the inner stadium’s seating. In true runner form, my first thought was ‘this is going to screw with my Strava’, and secondly ‘I bet I can outrun the people in front now I’m in the shade’… before registering where I was and who had been here before: ‘damn, this is cool!’
Running from this corridor, with music blaring all the way, out into the sunny stadium makes Newham undoubtedly the coolest 10k course I have ever finished. The big screen shows the names of people coming over the finish line, where a camera’s pointing in your sweaty face as you pant and try to keep moving.
Spotting James’ smiling face in the crowd, I made my way over and we had a kiss and a selfie in the stadium – before making our way outside to grab some medals and t-shirts, and have a bit of a stretch in the shade!
As with all Great Run organised events, it was smoothly organised, very upbeat and it had plenty of everything – water stations at 4k and 8k and plenty of water afterwards as well.
My official time was over 51 minutes and James, as always, did amazingly with a time of over 42.
I was buzzing at the end of it, and felt full of sunshine and good vibes as we headed back home on the Megabus. Getting into bed that night, we both slept super well, and are definitely considering signing up again next year!