Olympic medallist and Great Run Series founder Brendan Foster and Mayor of Newham, Sir Robin Wales, today unveiled their vision to create the UK's biggest mass participation running event.
Brendan Foster and Sir Robin Wales were joined by Lord Coe, athlete Jo Pavey and representatives from Morrisons at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to reveal details of the 2015 Morrisons Great Newham London Run.
The run is due to be staged over 10K on Sunday 19 July and will be the first event to take place in the former Olympic Stadium at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, since the transformation work began. There will also be a 2K family run which is open to runners of all abilities aged 5 years and upwards.
A new element to the 2015 Great Run Series is the Morrisons Great Marathon Team Relay event, which is also set to start and finish inside the Stadium.
Each person in a team of four will complete a 10.54K distance, passing a special sash at the end of each section to their team as they cross the finish line. The team's combined distance will be equal to a marathon.
Nova International Chairman Brendan Foster said: “We're working in partnership with Newham to make the Morrisons Great Newham London Run, the biggest running event in Britain. Our aim is to build to 60,000 people taking part every year within five years.”
The Great North Run is currently the biggest annual running event in Britain with 57,000 participants. The London Marathon and Great Manchester Run have approximately 40,000 runners taking part.
Foster said: “It took us 30 years to reach 50,000 participants at the Great North Run. We are now aiming to create Britain's biggest annual running event. It will be spectacular to see 60,000 people running around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and crossing the line in the Stadium.
“I hope the British public will be as excited as I am about this event, which is a not-to-be-missed opportunity for runners, spectators and all the family. I hope to see thousands of old faces and lots of new ones taking part on the 19 July, and in the future as this event continues to grow.”
The London Borough of Newham has invested £45 million in the former Olympic Stadium and South Park, and the Morrisons Great Newham London Run represents one of Newham's ten Community days with exclusive access to the stadium.
Sir Robin Wales said: “The Great Newham London Run will be the first event to be held in the Stadium since the transformation works began. It will provide a great opportunity for our residents, runners and visitors to see how Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and the Stadium have developed. We want our residents to feel the same excitement crossing the same finishing line as the Olympians and Paralympians who truly inspired a generation. We invested in the Stadium to ensure a fitting sporting, employment and community legacy for our residents and London and this event is helping to deliver that legacy.”
Former LOCOG Chairman Lord Coe believes the event is an exciting part of the London Olympic legacy.
Lord Coe said: “The Morrisons Great Newham London Run is a tremendous example of London 2012 legacy in action. It is a unique opportunity for runners of all abilities to experience running in the former Olympic Stadium, which no other mass participation event offers. I hope many more people in London will be inspired to discover the magic and enjoyment of running by taking part in this event.”
European 10,000m champion Jo Pavey is a long-time supporter of the Great Run Series and joined Brendan Foster, Sir Robin Wales and Lord Coe at the event launch today.
Pavey said: “I will never forget running in the former Olympic Stadium at London 2012, and now everyone has the chance to experience this at the Morrisons Great Newham London Run, which I think is fantastic.
“The 10K distance is achievable for most people and, as a mum, I think the ‘family run' is a great way to get kids active at a fun and healthy day out for the all family. I want to encourage everyone to sign up and get running.”
Morrisons store manager Scott Tierney also attended the launch. Tierney is registered to run the race and manage the new Canning Town store, due to open later this year as part of the ongoing regeneration of Newham.
Nick Collard, Group Marketing and Customer Director for Morrisons said: “The Great Run Series has become an essential part of Britain's calendar. As we begin to play our part in getting more of the nation running, we're delighted to witness such a huge development in the inaugural year of our sponsorship.”
The Stadium is currently undergoing transformation works to turn it into the new national competition centre for British Athletics in 2016 and the permanent home of West Ham United Football Club. Subject to the completion of the transformation works the Morrisons Great Newham London Run will take place on Sunday 19 July. The Stadium is due to host a number of world class sporting events later this year including the Morrisons Great Newham London Run, the Barbarians v Samoa, five matches of the Rugby World Cup and Rugby League international between England and New Zealand. In 2017, the Stadium will host the IPC World Championships and IAAF World Athletics Championships.
To sign up for the Morrisons Great Newham London Run visit www.greatrun.org