6 Oct

London 2012 Marathon Route Confirmed

The London Olympic Stadium under construction

The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has confirmed that the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Marathons will start and finish at The Mall in centre London.

The new route has ben approved by the IAAF and the Olympic Board and agreed by the IOC, despite the East London council criticising organisers for the plans to move the route. LOCOG insist that the development of the Olympic Transport Plan and the evolving sports competition schedule, has led to the route change.

The LOCOG say that the new route will provide a better operational solution without causing a high risk of disruption to the many other sports taking place at the same time in the Olympic Park and across London. A marathon route east/northeast of Tower Hill, ending in the Olympic Stadium, would have required the closure of Tower Bridge and a number of other roads.
In addition, the infrastructure and secure areas behind the Olympic stadium mean that it would have been impossible for spectators to watch and celebrate the final mile of the marathon.

The Olympic and Paralympic Marathons are much smaller events than the annual London Marathon, and other mass participation marathons.

The races involve around 80 athletes, and the route has been developed around a 'loop' circuit so that spectators can see the runners several times rather than them just passing the spectators once.

The new route will start in The Mall, and take in London sights including Buckingham Palace, Admiralty Arch, Birdcage Walk, St Paul's Cathedral, Leadenhall, Tower Hill and the Houses of Parliament before finishing in The Mall.

The original starting point of Tower Bridge was ruled out since it did not have sufficient space needed for operational facilities and broadcasting positions.

Sebastian Coe, Chair of LOCOG, commented: 'This is one of the hardest decisions we have had to take - and we realise that this may be disappointing for Tower Hamlets. We have agreed with the Leader of Tower Hamlets Council to develop a proposal creating more opportunities for the borough to be part of the Games.'