Hammers back Newham Run

Matthew Upson, Scott Parker and James Tomkins joined athletes from Newham and Essex Beagles to celebrate the launch of next year's Newham London Run.

Organisers are hoping to build on the 2010 edition's success, when around 3,700 competitors took part. This year the figure is expected to top 5,000.

During the event, on 27 March 2011, runners will once again take in West Ham Park, The Greenway, Stratford Park and pass in front of the Olympic Stadium, where the opening and closing ceremony, as well as track and field events, will take place for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

West Ham captain Upson said: "We are delighted to be supporting such a great event, something that all ages can take part in and enjoy.

"We encourage as many as possible to take part.

"It will also give those running a chance to see where the much of the Olympics will be held in London 2012, a spectacle I know many are looking forward to.

"We know there is a great initiative in Newham to promote health and more participation in sport. This is just one of many events being held and we are pleased to be backing it."

Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales said: "I'm delighted that the Newham London Run is returning to the Olympic Park, giving thousands of people the chance to see the fantastic progress first hand.

"The best thing about last year's run was the fantastic support Newham's residents gave competitors on the way round.

"I'm looking forward to seeing more of the same this time round.

"This event grows in stature every year and it's great that we're able to offer residents and visitors alike the chance to experience the magic of the Olympics up close."

Newham Council has made 100 free places available for residents living in the Borough, aged 15 and over, on a first-come-first served basis.

Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt said: "This is another great opportunity for runners to see up close the Olympic Park taking shape.

"More than 100,000 people have visited the Olympic Park on bus tours and thousands more will be able to run inside the park in March."

Newham and Essex Beagles member Neha Dabhi, a middle distance runner from East Ham, said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for local people to get involved."

The 17-year-old will be competing in the race along with her club-matess Nakole Iddirisu, also 17, and 19-year-old Harun Abdi, as part of their endurance training.

Newham Run