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Foster: Great Newham Run can be as big as Great North Run

PUBLISHED: 15:00 21 January 2017

Brendan Foster with competitors at last year's Great Newham Run

Brendan Foster with competitors at last year's Great Newham Run

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Olympic bronze medalist believes London event will grow and grow

Great Britain's Mo Farah crosses the finish line to win the men's elite race at the Great North Run in Newcastle (pic PA) Great Britain's Mo Farah crosses the finish line to win the men's elite race at the Great North Run in Newcastle (pic PA)

Brendan Foster wants the Simplyhealth Great Newham Run to become as big as the Great North Run.

Organised in partnership with Newham Council, the 10k event and 2k family run takes in the Olympic Park before finishing on the track in London Stadium on July 2, just weeks ahead of the 2017 World ParaAthletics and IAAF World Championships.

And Olympic bronze medalist Foster, chairman of the Great Run Company which organises over 40 mass participation events in the UK, said: “We would love to make the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run as big as the Great North Run.

“Last year’s 10km and 2km family event saw more than 15,000 runners take to the track and we believe London can lead the way in helping running take the top spot as the nation’s favourite participation sport.“

Entrants are all smiles at the Great Newham Run Entrants are all smiles at the Great Newham Run

According to the latest Sport England survey, figures released in December show swimming remains the nation’s most popular sport, but running is now a close second with 2.2 million taking part, up from 1.4 million in 2005/06.

The running boom has gone from strength to strength since 2005 when London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics, with the rise of free weekly runs and a host of other mass participation events making it easier for people to get involved.

Millions are running in local parks across the country every weekend and the ballots for the London Marathon and Great North Run are always over-subscribed as demand for places continues to rise each year.

Foster added: “We’ve seen such incredible growth and it’s only set to continue.

“Resolutions to join a gym can come and go but running always seems to stand the test of time as people often commit to taking part in a spring or summer event.

“January’s our biggest month for event sign-ups. People often sign up for an event and then find the real joy in running once they start training and that’s what keeps them motivated.”

Mayor of Newham Sir Robin Wales supports Great Run’s vision to encourage more people to take up running in 2017.

He said: “I find running a great way of getting outdoors and getting fit. What better incentive could there be for Newham residents and anyone else to try running than the opportunity of running in the former Olympic Stadium as part of the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run.

“This event has become one of the firm fixtures in the running calendar. It gives people the chance of following in the footsteps of their athletic heroes and give them their own unique experience.”

How to get involved:

*Sign up for the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run 10km or 2km family run on July 2 by visiting greatrun.org/newham.

*Start training with Great Run Local – free 5km and 2km timed runs around Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run will take place.

*Like the Simplyhealth Great Newham London Run Facebook page for updates and training tips in the lead-up to the race.

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