Sam Newnham

Bingley, United Kingdom, United Kingdom
Member since Apr 2017

My Completed Races

Asda Foundation York 10K
ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon
Windmill Half Marathon
Asda Foundation Yorkshire Marathon
Vale of York 10

My Latest Reviews

Completed in 2017


York 10K - 3rd year running

Asda Foundation York 10K

This is my third year running the Run For All York 10K and each time, I've paced the event.

Up until today, this was my favourite of the Run For All events. It's fast, flat (there's small inclines but no hills), excellent support and fantastic organisation. But this year, it wasn't as brilliant as it has been.

Firstly, the amount of entrants has increased but the course has not been adjusted. This meant that not only was the start extremely crowded and almost impossible to get to where you need to start from, but also meant some parts of the course were very over crowded. There are parts of the course which are very narrow, and there was a fair bit of bottle necking, so you'd have to be well in front to avoid this.  This was disappointing as this tended to be on the more scenic parts of the route, meaning that you were trying to avoid the stampede instead of enjoying the views. 

And the loos. Don't even get me started. This is an issue every year at the York 10K but has not been resolved. Made even worse by the increase in entrants. Some poor runners were delayed starting as the queues were just so long...

But support along the course was amazing as with every Run For All event, from both the marshalls and the spectators. And as always, the atmosphere was buzzing. The medal is fab as is the t-shirt.

Posted on 06.08.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Windmill Half Marathon

Windmill Half Marathon

This is the first time I've taken part in the event after I'd heard so many good things about it.

It's a little local race (I say little but I think there were around 900 people there today!) and it's brilliantly organised. The marshall's are fantastic and for a small local event, there is loads of support on the course from members of the public.

The course is out and back along the seafront and past... wait for it... the windmill. It was lovely in the sunshine but there were a few downsides...

•It's laps. You do two laps and then round to the finish line. I'm not a big fan of laps.

•The wind. It is damn windy on that sea front (windy all year round apparently!). So one minute you're loving the sunshine and the next, you're fighting strong wind!

•I personally found the course a bit dull. Out and back on the promenade and then onto the road to make up some distance. It was nice to be by the sea side at the start, but then it would have been nice to have seen more of the area instead of running the same route twice. 

But the medal is huge and does not disappoint! And it's a pretty flat course, so good for PBs (if you're good at tackling wind...)

Posted on 16.07.17

Leeds Half Marathon 2017

Asda Foundation Leeds Half Marathon

This was my 6th consecutive year running the Leeds Half and is my all time favourite half marathon. Here's why...

The course is tough. The first 6 miles are uphill. And I mean proper hills. You definitely need to get your hill training in for this race. There's even a cheeky hill at mile 12 as you head to the finish line. The course isn't scenic. It starts in Leeds city centre, goes out on the ring road and comes back on Kirkstall Road so there's nothing scenic about it. BUT, none of this matters as the atmosphere is absolutely AMAZING. The crowd support is like no other. Every single mile is covered with spectators; all who come out of their homes with home made signs, sweets, oranges and massive cheers. And the event is so we'll organised. The volunteers cheer just as much as the crowds. And this is why it's my all time favourite Half Mara. I've yet to come across another race with this electric atmosphere.  This electricity gets you through the tough bits as everyone is cheering and shouting your name. 

The t-shirt and medal are fantastic too, making it a simply brilliant event.

However, this year, I had two small gripes about the event. Firstly, the price. 2017 was the most expensive it's ever been at just under £40, which is a bit much for a half and I wouldn't have paid it if I hadn't done it before. And secondly, the starting pens. There must have been some mix up in allocation of bib colours. I estimated my finished time as being between 1:45-1:49 but yet I was placed in the second to last pen (my actual finish time was 1:42). Other runners who had estimated slower finish times were in front of me. It just meant that I quickly caught upto some of the walkers in the front pens. Only a slight gripe as it didn't manage to ruin my day!

All in all, a great event and I'll most likely be back for year number 7 in 2018 :-)

Posted on 15.05.17

Asics Greater Manchester Marathon 2017

ASICS Greater Manchester Marathon

I completed this race in 2015 and said never again, but was offered a discounted place (due to the course being short in '15) so I gave it another go.

Nothing had changed.

The parking is chaotic despite paying £10 in advance for a place in official parking. I ended up waiting in a queue for over an hour for a space I'd already paid for due to lack of signs and poor marshalling. 

The start is no better. I followed the signs to the start but after a while, I realised it was sending me on a wild goose chase so I finally found a marshal who said that I was in completely the wrong place (and there were many other disgruntled runners here too). I told him that I had followed the signs and he just shrugged his shoulders. This meant I ended up starting right at the very back...

The course is advertised as fast and flat. It is indeed but personally I would describe it as dull and boring. I like a bit of scenery but this is a road race in some unknown parts of Manchester so don't expect any pretty scenery (but you are aware of this when you sign up). And I mean no offence here as I love Manchester but there are better routes this race could take. 

There is some really good support on some parts of the route and there is some entertainment along the course. But in some areas there is nothing at all.

There are many aid stations across the course with water, isotonic drink and gels, so you can't fault the organisers for some fantastic and well manned aid stations.

The finish is just as chaotic. It has moved since I last ran this race. I assume to make the race longer as it has been measuring short. But this year it measured over at 26.37 miles (and that's a lot when you're running a marathon!). There's quite a way to walk from the finish line runners area to meet your family and spectators, and once you get there, everyone is just crammed into this area (I'm sure the spectators would have rather have been in a place which was closer to the finish line to see their loved ones crossing the line).

The medal is decent but the t-shirt not as much. Not to mention I got a small size and it's like a tent so not one I'll be wearing again.

So I'm sorry to say, it had its second chance and I still didn't enjoy it so not a race I will be entering again. Shame really, as it has the potential to be a cracking race...

Posted on 12.04.17

Completed as a first timer in 2017


Vale Of York 10

Vale of York 10

I have taken part in the Vale Of York half marathon in the past but this was my first year taking in part in the 10 miler.

This one starts at the Rufforth Airfield, which is where parking is. Long queues for parking so get there early but very helpful marshals.

Race Number is collected on the day and this process was really easy and quick. However, this was let down by the HUGE queue for the loos. The queues were so long that the race was delayed by 10 mins so that the loo queue could clear. More toilets are definitely required!

The course itself is really lovely. And the glorious weather really highlighted the beauty. Starting on the airfield runway, then going out onto the country roads and looping back. It's not as flat as advertised but if you're from Yorkshire, then these "hills" will just be like small inclines to you, although there is quite a rather large incline between mile 7 and 8! 

The marshals were fantastic; really helpful and supportive along the course. There are not many spectators but that's expected given the rural locality so don't expect support all the way along the course from the public.

The only other let down is that there are only two water stations. I would expect at least 3 aid stations with the length of the course. I'd associate just two on a 10K as opposed to a ten mile course. However, the water is bottled water so you can take it with you along the course and runners are made aware that there are only two aid stations prior to the race.

The support at the end is brilliant. A lot of cheering at the finish line and once again some fabulous marshalls to guide you at the end. 

All in all, a fab little race and fantastic for a PB attempt (yes I achieved a PB this morning!). And to top it off, you get an awesome t-shirt and medal at the end. Definitely a race I'd do again (as long as toilet situation is resolved!)

Posted on 09.04.17