In short: Nice race, friendly town, BIG medal! In full: This seemed like a nice race to do, having found it by chance on the Runner's World website.
NEGATIVE: There were two main ones to point out here. Firstly, the race entry was a bit steep for a 5K at £17 plus a further £8 for an optional T-shirt. Secondly, the race was advertised as starting at 10am, but I arrived to find the race starting 30mins early. I know I wasn't the only one in the same position, as there were others too. There wasn't as big a turnout as I was expecting and spectators/supporters were a thin in numbers, except in the home straight.
POSITIVE: Despite the problems of the changed start time, I still managed to get under the start arch about five minutes after the field had left. The race was ofcourse chip-timed, so I knew I would get an accurate time for my run. The young volunteers were very helpful at the start as they helped me to scramble my number and chip on. Those individuals who missed the race start, did receive refund on their race entry and fortunately they had only come from nearby Eastbourne. The race was on a Friday and as a Muslim, I needed to wash properly before prayers. I had asked the race organisers before race day if use of a shower would be possible afetr the race, and one was promised. The race director kindly got his younger brother to show me to a gym around the corner from the race start, where I was given use of their private shower room. This was a very kind gesture on the race director's part, for which I sent him an e-mail of thanks.
GOODY-BAG & MEDAL: There was no goody bag, but bottles of water were provided at the finish and you could purchase a souvenir T-shirt. The medal was of excellent quality and HUGE! the biggest one I have in my collection.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and everything went well with no major hiccups, except missing my first train from London. The weather was sublime too. Date of review: May 21, 2011
In short: Event getting better, but not yet the finished article. In full: I have run in this event every year since its inception in 2009. As it's local, I give it my support by participating in it and trying to leave constructive comments on here.
NEGATIVE: As with the other Newham 10K event, the scenery is not up to much, but it is only Plaistow and Stratford, so what else did I expect? lol! The race in the first 200m is a little congested as it is run on the paths of West Ham Park. As in previous years, the route is in dire need of more km markers, and preferably more prominent ones at that. I only recall seeing the 8km and 9km markers en route. I've mentioned in a previous review that you knew you'd reached the 5km point, because of the turnaround near the Olympic stadium. The goody bag collection was once again a free-for-all disaster. My other half witnessed another woman taking four bags away! Organisers need to get a grip on this and the baggage collection which was a little on the slow side, despite the efforts of those manning them. Collection of technical T-shirts (if you ordered one for £15) was also poor. I collected the two T-shirts that I ordered, but the collection point had no check-list of which runners had ordered them. I asked the chap how he was going to check that I had genuinely ordered two technical T's, he admitted that this was a flaw, as he had no way of checking.
POSITIVE: The atmosphere as always was good. Organisers had managed to bring on board some celebrity faces such as British long-jumper Chris Tomlinson, Levi Roots (Reggae Reggae Sauce guy) and Jocelyn Brown (never heard of her, but she's a singer). This year I was glad to see starting pens in place. There were mediocre runners who started right at the front last year, and all that does is hold up the much faster elite and club runners. It was still amusing though to see some 'runners' try to enter the front pen with race numbers as big as 3000 and being denied access unless they had a number less than 500! Although there were fewer marshalls than in Newham London Run, the marshalls in this event were far more vocal in their support and encouragement. Hats off again to the construction workers who gave generous applause inside the Olympic park. The finish line was a little wider this year and it was fenced off, so people didn't just walk aimlessly across it.
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The bag was exactly the same cotton bag with event name (not year) on it. Inside the bag there was a 500ml bottle of Powerade energy drink, a white cotton T-shirt with the event logo and TSF&A logo on the chest, a bar of Cadbury's Big Race a can of Gillette shaving foam for women (I dunno why this was in the mens goody bag!) a small packet of fruit sweets and finishers could also pick up a bottle of water, a can of Wellman energy drink and a free copy of the Newham Recorder after the finish line.
As long this event continues year after year, I'll be participating in it. The Newham London Run is better organised with more participants, but the Newham Classic 10K was the first event of its kind in Newham, which makes it special. As other reviewers have already mentioned, Tessa Sanderson takes a very 'hands on' approach and is always tremendously enthusiastic. I took part in the West Ham Park Winter Run Series, which helped me get back into running after 16 months absence. I ran between 41mins and 43mins and was really disappointed, as I hit 'the wall' after 6km and then had plenty of runners overtake me. My advice to other runners ...hydrate and fuel yourself properly before a race! I didn't, and lost the opportunity to go sub-40mins. Date of review: April 10, 2011
In short: A very good local race, only in its second year. In full: This was my first time running in this event, as I was some how unaware of the event last year. Having now participated in it, I wished I had done it last year too.
NEGATIVE: The most negative aspect is definitely the scenery. Bow flyover, West Ham Lane and a giant construction site isn't inspiring even for Newham residents! I think just a few more portaloos would have been useful, but I'm not aware of any complaints from any runners. Spectators and supporters were almost non-existent except at the 8K mark and at the finish.
POSITIVE: I think the level of organisation was the strongest aspect of this event. There were bagggage coaches available near the start and they were clearly sign-posted and well-manned. The different start zones were clearly marked out, and there were plenty of marshalls segregating the runners of different race number colours. The warm-up was done from a good vantage point, although some of the moves were bizarre. I managed to be near the front as I had on an orange number. The race started promptly, but the start area was a little congested and there was a sharp left turn after 50 yards. Though the scenery is less-than-desirable, runners did at least have the opportunity to see the Olympic Stadium close up. The construction workers in the Olympic site cheered and gave more encouragement to the runners,than the marshalls on the course!
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The shoulder bag was made of cloth with the event logo and year on it. The contents included: a 500ml bottle of Powerade energy drink, two sachets of Linwood's powders, a 55g PowerBar, foil blanket, bottle of water, 'Eat Natural' yoghurt/cereal bar a 'Newham' guide to the Olympic Games 2012 and a grey T-shirt with the event logo and date on it. The medal was nice with the event details/logo on it, attached to a broad pink ribbon.
Providing I'm in good health this time next year, I will be running in this event again. It's too good a local event to miss and I'm motivated by the fact that I earned a pb too. Finally, a shout out to Wendy Pullen, one the runners I've met at the 'West Ham Park Winter Run Series', who has also left a review on here! Date of review: April 2, 2011
In short: Family friendly event. In full: This was my first time running in this event, first time I've been in Clapham in fact. I've committed myself to the whole series of six races this calender year.
NEGATIVE: The course has numerous twists and tight turns, so it can be difficult to maintain a rhythm. Also, you had to be very careful not trip over the posts which marked out the corners, as the wind blew some of them to an awkward angle. In the final kilometre of the race, I very nearly caused damage to my ankle as I trod on a thick piece of twig. I wasn't pleased as I was doing my level best to catch the runner in front who eventually finished 9 seconds ahead of me. To do justice to the organisers though, they had gone to the trouble of spray-painting any protruding tree roots en route. One small gripe; one of the baggage handlers lost my hat, even though I saw him pick up my bag to place it inside. Baggage handling is an extra £1 by the way.
POSITIVE: For a relatively small scale event, the organisers have virtually everything but a T-shirt in place! The queues for the chip/race number collection were long, but the individuals manning them worked quickly (despite the hat loss!). Rather unusually, there were no queues for the toilets. Regular runners know how common and frustrating they can be at events! I liked the fact that there was someone always making regular, meaningful announcements. One guy was really funny, he said some right hilarious things, especially some runners he was publicly chatting to to over the mic. All races were started on time and I was impressed with some of the kids in their event, some of them were really talented runners for their age. Well done to all you little boys and girls - childhood obesity in the media ...not a bit of it here! Despite the problems of tight corners, what I liked about the course was that you had to return to the bandstand area, where of course you had all the spectators/supporters encouraging everyone. Finally, many thanks to the chap who announced my name at least three times and congratulated me over the speakers, the same chap who was being hilarious at the beginning. It was a very nice way to finish, even though my time was a rubbish!
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The goody bag had an energy drink and cereal bar in it and you could pick up a bottle of water after the finish line too. The medal quality was okay, but it had the event details on there. The black ribbon attached to it though was very smart, with all that gold lettering. Date of review: April 1, 2011
In short: Nice event, shame about the medal and weather. In full: This was the first time that I had run in this event. I have run in the Movember at Greenwich Park, which is also run by 'The Fix Events'.
NEGATIVE: It didn't help that the weather was awful, about five minutes before the start of my race. But the organisers are obviously not to blame for that! Because of the muddy conditions it would have been nice to have somewhere for runners to sit/place their items down in preparation for the race. If you happened to become detached from a group of runners it can feel rather lonely, as there are no supporters/spectators en route, except at the start/finish area. The number of marshalls are also a little on the thin side. Finally, though the medal/ribbon looked nice and had the event details on there, the details came off very easily because of the rain/sweat, so it was of poor quality. When I e-mailed David about this problem, I received a reply stating that it would be replaced. It's April now, and no response since then, but I'm sure it will be dealt with soon.
POSITIVE: David Krangel (race director) was always visible and easy tp approach for any runner who needed to speak to him. The tents where you had to pick up your race number and chip was well-manned and efficient. The race was started on time and two reminder announcements were made before the start of the first race. It was done in wave starts, to comply with park regulations. The route was simple enough to follow, but you did have to dodge the odd person, canine and pothole! I like the fact that you could view your accurate time/result on a monitor immediately after you had finished, as it was all chip-timed.
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: There was no goody bag, but you could pick up a cup of water and some jelly beans after the race. Finally, though the medal/ribbon looked nice and had the event details on there, the details came off the ribbon very easily because of the rain/sweat, so it was of poor quality. When I e-mailed David about this problem, I received a reply stating that it would be replaced. It's April now, and no response since then, but I'm sure it will be dealt with soon.
This is a good event to run in as a build up to larger events on the running calender. As the race is not elitist, the average runner could possibly pick up a trophy for a top three placing (18:32 - the winning time for the men's 5K, 23:38 - the women's 5K winning time). If you're using rail transport to get to the race, Mortlake Station is the easiest/closest to the event place.
In short: Steep in cost, but an altogether lovely event. In full: This was my first time at this event and I chose to run the 5K distance.
NEGATIVE: There aren't very many quite frankly! The start was a narrow gate where the chip sensor was located and you did have to be careful not to tread on anyone's foot or run into someone's back. The two young ladies who were marshalling at around 3.5km weren't clear with their instructions. Some runners (including myself) ran past them thinking we were on the 5k route and had to be called back. We did ask "which way 5k?" from 15m/20m away. It would have been far better if they had used themselves to block the way ahead and just pointed the right way, there were two of them after all. Finally, I agree with 0ops that the price for the 10K is a bit steep at £20 advanced entry and £23 for on-the-day entry.
POSITIVE: It would be very difficult to beat the scenery you observe on this route in any other park. At least half the race route was alongside the Serpentine Pond/Lake. At many events, the lack of toilets is a recurring issue, but not at this event. Park toilets were nearby as well as portaloos. It was nice to be applauded in at the finish by supporters of other runners AND the organisers too. This feeling was made extra special as I finished with no-one around me, so I knew the cheers/applause were all for me!
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The bag was blue with the event organiser name/logo on it in white font on both sides. It's one I think the ladies will get more use out of than the gents. The bag had a very nice blue T-shirt with the event details on the front and the organisers' name/logo on the back. Also in the bag were; a bottle of Vitamin Water (one was given at the finish too), a nuts & raisin bar, an oat cereal bar, a small sachet of Ricola swiss herb drops and a booklet about 'After Adoption'.
I enjoyed participating in this event, partly because I was expecting my body to give up on me, but it didn't. I had a big curry dinner the night before and hadn't run since the Petts Wood 10K a fortnight ago. As I've mentioned already, the 10K entry was steep and the £1 charge for baggage storage on top of this was "cheeky". The 5K entry cost was £12 advanced entry/£15 on the day entry, so there was a cheaper alternative available. However folks, remember it is for a charity. Despite the blip at 3.5km, all the runners (myself included) I spoke to were very appreciative of the people who volunteered their valuable time out to marshall on a very cold Sunday morning... THANK YOU! Date of review: October 24, 2010
In short: Everything great except the mailing of the race pack. In full: This was my second year of running this event, having thoroughly enjoyed last year's event.
NEGATIVES: My race pack arrived very late this year, even though I had entered on-line in August. I had to phone up the club to find why my race pack had not arrived in good time like last year. The chap I spoke to (John Gurney) was very good about the matter and assured me that there would be a plan B. In the event, my pack did arrive, but at the sorting depot! As the postage was insufficient, I had to pay another £1.10 to take the package. On top of this, it caused me no end of bother to get to the depot to retrieve the package. There were quite a few public transport diruptions (not the fault of organisers) but it didn't make for a positive start mentally. I'm sure last year's race numbers had an area to write your name on it. It meant that marshalls could encourage you by name. It would be great to have that back.
POSITIVE: The baggage drop-off area was manned very well by youngsters, who were very polite to boot! The race did start a little late, but this was okay, as many runners faced transportation problems (afore-mentioned) and some ladies were still waiting for the toilets. The race itself was very well marshalled and the km markers were frequent. Unlike other races I've ran in, there were two water stations on this course. One station had cups of water and the other had bottles of water. There is a section in the final quarter of the race where some Petts Wood residents provide really good encouragement in the woodlands.
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The medal was the same as last year, but what a nice and big medal! The ribbon attached to it was royal blue colour and had the exact date of the event on it in large font, as well as the start time of the race 10th October 2010 @ 10:10am. The goody bag had a Snickers bar in it and you could collect a banana too.
I intend to compete in this event again next year, I really like the course and MEDAL. However a strong message to the organisers 'please refer back to the original way of mailing out the race packs'. Date of review: October 11, 2010
In short: Glad to have participated in the 30th anniversary race. In full: This was my first race in Wales, having ran races in England and Scotland this year too.
NEGATIVE: To be perfectly honest, there are very few things to criticise about this event, but I'll give it a go! There were finish time posters up, but runners started to bunch up very close together. It would be a good idea to have stricter starting pens with wave starts, but I am really nit-picking here. I would like to have participated in the warm-up, but I and others at the back could not see the announcer and what moves were being performed. We were asked to follow the people in front, but they were almost motionless (lol). There was a lot of qeueing to do after the finish to collect goodies, often involving walking from one side to the other. It would have been very easy for some runners to miss these if it were not for the large number of runners congregating at the 'stalls'.
POSITIVE: Though all the runners bunched up too closely at the start, the finish time posters were large and clear for all to see. This is the first race in the dozen or so that I completed, where the km markers were perfect. Every km had a marker clearly signposted, and the final 500m counted down every 100m. I've run the Asics London 10K, which had ten times as many runners as this event, but the atmosphere was much better here. The local residents came out in force and gave vocal support/encouragement and applause, which was really motivating. This was particularly noticeable around the Mumbles area and I really appreciated this gesture of the residents. The finish approach had loud supporters lined on both sides with with a full 500m to go! The last 50m had an intimate yet noisy finish, with the crowd seemingly cheering and applauding all runners no matter what their finish time. If you required a post-race massage, they were available free of charge.
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: The bag was made of cloth and had the event details on it. After completing the run, runners could pick up; a bottle of water, a bottle of shampoo, a bottle of conditioner, a certificate, a banana and a Warburton's fruit loaf! The medal had a diameter of approx. 5cm with a hole in it... in the shape of a runner finishing a race. The medal had all the 30th anniversary event details on it, as did the red ribbon it was attached to. The T-shirts were available in range of sizes and could be picked up before or after the race.
I stayed at a guesthouse (very reasonable rate) on Oystermouth Road, I wouldn't recommend driving to the event location. It wasn't feasible for me to participate in the HSBC Cardiff 10K which took place a fortnight before this event. However, participating in the Swansea event removed any disappointment of not having competed in Cardiff. Date of review: October 3, 2010
In short: Not made for the serious/club runner, it's a charity FUN run with good atmosphere. In full: Having just completed the holy month of Ramadhan six days prior to the run, I was apprehensive about attempting this. No going back though, I had already entered the event. My plan was to get to Hamstead Heath by Overground, but due to engineering works, I used the Tube instead and got off at Hamstead Station (Northern Line). The event site was only a 7-minute stroll away.
NEGATIVE: The warm-up before the run was done enthusiastically and there was an accompanying drumming band keeping everyone to the beat. The race start was very abrupt, some participants weren't aware that it had begun. The information sheet had mentioned separate starts for the three types of participants(10K/5K runners & 5K walkers), this didn't materialise. The marshalling in the first half of the race was good, but marshalls in the second half seemed inexperienced, one young lady even busy on her mobile phone (approx. 4K mark). There were no distance markers throughout the entire race, there may/may not have been for the 10K run, I'm not sure. At one point in the race, the race route for the 10K/5K runners diverged and there was a sign (with a marshall's presence) pinned to a tree informing runners of this. The problem however was that the sign was quite small and very easy to miss (especially if you were running behind or in the middle of a pack) and the marshall there needed to be more vocal. I spoke to a chap (Portuguese, I think) who'd obviously missed the sign and ran an extra 4K! Had he not done so, he would clearly have come in 1st place for the 10K in about 37mins.
POSITIVE: There was generally a very relaxed atmosphere due to organisers and runners alike. The number collection was handled very well as was the t-shirt/refreshment collection afterwards. I was so focused on just trying not to give up, that I didn't always take in what I'm sure is beautiful scenery. Though the marshalling was a bit hit-and-miss, they were easy to spot/identify. Although there were no km markers, the sound of the drumming at least informed you that you were nearing the finish! I was very pleased to have come in 4th place with no training and thoughts of giving up after 3K, a pleasant day overall.
GOODY BAG & MEDAL: There were white t-shirts (S, M & L) with the charity name printed on the front left breast and the event name on the back. The refreshments were numerous; chocolate bars, bananas, apples, crisps, bottled mineral water and Vitamin fruit drinks all to be carried in a cloth bag with the charity name branded on it. The medal quality was disappointing, small and light with no details of the event on it. However, bearing in mind that this is a charity event and that there were many items in the goody-bag, this can be overlooked. Date of review: September 24, 2010
In short: Special race because it's local, but there IS room for improvement. In full: A change of route this year and a more challenging one too. The race began and ended in West Ham Park, where I had many a school PE lesson! A far greater turn-out this year led to a more vibrant atmosphere. Tessa Sanderson was there as well as former Olympic swimmer Sharron Davies.
NEGATIVE: The race start was rather cramped, but after exiting the park, it was okay. Apart from West Ham Park and the partially completed 2012 Olympic stadium, the route won't be interesting to outsiders. The km markers really need to be more frequent and prominent, the only way you knew that half the race had been completed was when you reached the stadium. The water stations however were well-manned and organised. The baggage collection as one earlier reviewer said, was a bit British Airways. The handing-out of the goody bags was dis-organised and a little chaotic. As another reviewer put it, more SMALL sizes please!
POSITIVE: Having some famous faces attend really boosts an event's image and status. A real bonus for me was witnessing a world record set by Fauja Singh. Never heard of him? yep, neither had I until then. This guy is 99 YEARS OLD! and he broke his own world record for his age category. I estimated his time at 1 hr 15 mins, a lot of people a quarter of his age would be proud of that time.
Goody bag & medal: Nice white t-shirt with the event name and year on it as a memento and the granola bar and energy drink much appreciated! very decent solid metal medal with the event name and year on it. The medal design same as last year, but the medal/ribbon colour was slightly different this year.
Suggestions: Change the route to possibly take in Green Street and the Boleyn ground, you'd get more spectators/supporters.