Tower Hamlets bringing the marathon home

2010 Marathon East London by Julian Mason

Tower Hamlets Council is planning to renew their bid for the Olympic Marathon to return to the original route, finishing at Stratford Stadium, as opposed to The Mall, next to Buckingham Palace.

The council is lobbying against the changes made by organizers of the London 2012 Olympic Games, resulting in a change of destination of the marathon.

Organizers of the 2012 Games raised concerns about traffic chaos issues and proposed a move  to Central London because it would offer more space for spectators and television camera crews.

The Tower Hamlets Council has responded with fury at the ‘broken promise to the Council’ of the organizers. Nick Smales, Head of 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games at Tower Hamlets Council, said: “the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was sold on the fact that residents would get the opportunity to be a part of the greatest sporting event on earth, sadly Tower Hamlets will now be missing out.”

Tower Hamlets Council says: “Originally Tower Hamlets had been set to host the basketball, walking race and marathon, but these have now all been removed leaving it as the only host borough not to be holding an Olympic event.” There are concerns that the move of the finish from the East to the Central London area has been done to create a more TV-friendly, representable image of London for international press.

In an open letter to Paul Deighton, Chief Executive for the LOCOG, the Council wrote that they felt that, “At no time the London Borough of Tower Hamlets has been treated as a relevant authority during the eighteen months of review of the marathon route.”

Nick Smales also spoke about actions that had already been taken in preparation for the marathon, such as the £460,000 ‘High Street 2012’ plan on Whitechapel High Street. He explained: “High Street 2012 aims to regenerate some of the most deprived areas in Tower Hamlets against the backdrop of London 2012. This will also help lift up the area, with the benefits lasting for years to come.”

London Mayor Ken Livingstone told the Evening Standard: “We always envisaged that we would have this amazing route from all the historic sites into the East End and a long run up to the stadium, which would be just amazing. It also makes it a lot easier for people to see it. It’s something I think they should have another look at.”

To contact the Council: ,  telephone: 020 7364 5020

To petition for the marathon route to come back to the East End and learn more:

East End Life, email , telephone: 020 7364 3179

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