In short: Love Tessa Sanderson and her 10k race! In full: My second time at the Newham Classic. I did Tessa Sanderson's 5k Sunday runs over the winter so I know she is hands-on and supportive, but it was good to have support from other personalities like Levi Roots, and a song at the start from Jocelyn Brown. We started and finished in West Ham Park. The rest of the route is not particularly scenic, if you've seen the Olympic Stadium close up before, but running residential streets means you get spectators along along the way and there was support from the marshalls and the guys at the Olympics site, which helped to encourage me along when I began to flag. Km markers along the way. Nice cotton goody bag with cotton t shirt, bottle of water and sports drink, and a can of ladies shaving gel!(assume the gents got something different). The sunny weather helped to give the event a real carnival feel - can't wait until next year. Date of review: April 10, 2011
In short: A good race let down by poor organisation at the start In full: This race had more plus than negatives points. To get the negatives out of the way, the start was a bit shambolic. As other reviewers have said, there was no demarcated time zones, so different standards of runners crushed together near the start. The pace setters were very difficult to see and - when spotted - seemed to be bunched up together. The warm-up was shambolic. It started very late and we were too squashed up to follow the routine anyway (apologies to the person I elbowed when trying to wave my hands in the air). Then the race was off with no announcement that I could hear.
On to the plus points, being near a large shopping centre meant that there were plenty of parking, toilet and refreshment facilities. There was even an Adidas stand for runners who had forgotten bits of kit. I didn't use the info or left luggage facilities so I can't comment on them.
As still something of a beginner, I found the hilly sections of the course quite challenging and was not the only person to slow to a walk a couple of times. That said, it was possible to catch up on the downhill stretches and I was surprised to finish less than two minutes slower than my PB. There were plenty of marshalls but, to be honest, the course was so well marked out it would have been difficult to go wrong. There were two water stations on route and plenty of water and lucozade both before and after the race.
I was very impressed with the Adidas technical fabric T shirt (great to get something that fits)that was posted out with the joining instructions before the event. Nice medal and goody bag, including a useful hot or cold gel pack. Date of review: June 14, 2010
In short: Not a race but fun event anyway In full: Not a race as such. The event officially started at 6.30pm but you could start anytime in the few hours after that and do as many of the (very roughly)1km laps as you liked, up to 10k. Slightly disorganised at the beginning - found myself queueing to hand in my registration card when I only needed to drop the card in a bucket - clearer signs would have been helpful. There was a bottle-neck at the beginning and it was some time before I could break into a jog. There were further hold-ups along the way when the course went through pub crowds on narrow dockfronts, by the entrance to the DLR etc. On the plus side water was provided before the start, as well as on route and at the end, which a nice touch given the hot weather. The marshalls and compere on the tannoy were very jolly and there was good support from the crowds, bands and a group of cheerleaders along the way. No goody bag but a medal and a T-shirt - not bad for a free-to-enter charity event. Participants are asked to raise at least £25 as a donation to BHF and I was more than happy to contribute. Date of review: June 4, 2010
In short: Well organised with a scenic route In full: This was a really enjoyable race. The organisation was good; plenty of loos (at the beginning and on the course), well marshalled, well sign-posted meeting point for friends and family. Lucozade stand handing out free drinks, gels, jelly beans, pace bands and even lip balm before the race started. A decent goodie bag and jelly babies on finishing. The course itself took in some of the best sights in London, but it was a little tight in places and steep in others (Blackfriars - arrgh!). The one gripe is the T-shirt - for the entrance fee they really should be able to issue T-shirts in a range of sizes. I've entered the Sweatshop Bluewater 10k and they've sent me the appropriately sized (and very good) T-shirt in advance. Why can't the organisers of this race do the same? Date of review: June 4, 2010
In short: Made you happy to be a runner! In full: I participated in Tessa Sanderson's (free) 5k warm-up races in January and February and went into this race with high expectations. They weren't disappointed. Friendly and relaxed atmosphere, good warm-up and a great DJ playing pumping music to get us revved up before the start. The course was a little narrow at points but that didn't cause any major problems. One or two steep parts to provide a bit of a challenge. Although the race was mainly in residential streets, the start and finish in beautiful West Ham Park, and the views of the Olympic Stadium made for a scenic run. OK cloth goody bag with a good quality T Shirt (though a plea to race organisers - more small sizes please!), energy drink and cereal bar, plus a finishers medal. All in all a good run - the glorious weather heled too! Date of review: April 18, 2010
In short: Oh dear - complete shambles In full: Like some other reviewers, I entered this race to support a new local event. Never again. The joining instructions said arrive 8.00am sharp for an 8.45am start. Duly did so and found that even those of us who had registered and paid in advance had to join a long queue for race numbers and time chips. Distinct lack of loos. The 10k race didn't start until 9.20am. The course had been described as flat but undulating would have been a better description - hard work for beginners. There were no distance markers and marshalls were few and far between and not in the most helpful places - I only avoided getting lost at a fork in the road because the runners in front stopped a police car! As it was, my Garmin 405 clocked the distance as 11.46K. The start and finish was on very wet and muddy ground. Surprisingly, the goodie bag and T shirt were fine but promised finisher medals had not arrived by the time I gave up and left. I would feel guilty posting such a bad review for something that was purportedly a charity event (a runner who asked for his money back because his half marathon was ruined by the poor marshalling was told 'but it's for charity') but I notice from the KNI Foundation's own website that it doesn't currently have charity status ('coming soon' apparently). Date of review: March 28, 2010
In short: Poorly organised but beginner-friendly race In full: A well intentioned race slightly let down by poor organisation. The minus points: the website was ropey (it included 5 training programmes but the links to 2 didn't work, and timing details for the race were wrong- e.g. line up at start 11.05, race starts at noon!); queues to get race numbers even for those who had pre-registered; no signs to the toilets; nowhere safe to leave baggage; some parts of the course badly signposted; The plus points: nice varied course around football pitches and along the River Lea; friendly marshalls and competitors; chip timing with results available immediately via a PC screen; medal, goody bag (2 two-finger kitkats, sports gel and a pack of colouring pencils!)and a bottle of water at the finish (I think one 50ml bottle is fine for a 5k - take your own if you want some on the way round!); and a good refreshment tent with entertainment laid on. Overall, I'll do this race again next year if there is a Two2go event. Perhaps they'll have got the organisation right by then. Date of review: September 12, 2009
In short: Good, unintimidating race for beginners In full: My first 5k race, so it was good to know that there were plenty of other beginners there. Relaxed atmosphere, with a compere on the mic who could talk for Britain. Nice, gentle warm-up session to start. Bit of a bottle neck to start (competitors were asked to line up according to their expected finish time, which should have helped those who were aiming for a fast speed - I was happy to loiter at the back). One water station halfway through the race, with a bottle of water as you crossed the finish line. Nice enough T shirt and medal. Dwonside was the lack of loos - only 5 portaloos for an event with 500 runners plus supporters? I wonder how many people missed the start of the race because they were still queueing! Date of review: August 9, 2009
In short: Flat race through attractive inner-city parkland. Friendly and supportive marshalls along the route, and a water station. Barbecue and refrshment stalls laid on. The earlier kids one mile race led to a relaxed family atmosphere. Date of review: June 15, 2009