It is safe to say that although Canary Wharf is often in the news, the rest of the Isle of Dogs is seldom the focus of national and international interest. However this always changes on the day of the London Marathon when the normally quiet streets are filled by thousands of runners and thousands of spectators.
Well that’s what normally happens, but we do not live in normal times. Although the 2019 Marathon was its usual race, the 2020 Marathon was confined to elite runners and was run in St James Park with no spectators.
This year’s marathon unusually run in October rather than April will feature large numbers of runners but crowds are not encouraged and will be restricted in some areas.
The race tends to attract the world’s greatest men and women marathon runners and this year is no exception.
Shura Kitata (ETH) caused one of the biggest upsets in London Marathon history last year when he beat the great Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) he returns this year looking to get his first win on the traditional course from Greenwich to Westminster after a second place (2018) and a fourth place (2019) on his previous two races on the famous route.
But the Ethiopian will face stiff competition with Birhanu Legese (ETH),Mosinet Geremew (ETH), Titus Ekiru (KEN), Evans Chebet, Sisay Lemma (ETH,), Kinde Atanaw (ETH), and Vincent Kipchumba (KEN) in the field.
The British field will be led by Jonny Mellor, Mohamud Aadan, Joshua Griffiths and Charlie Hulson.
World record holder Brigid Kosgei (KEN) is aiming to be the first woman since Katrin Dorre in the early 1990s to win three back-to-back London Marathons.
but there is a large field of talent lining up alongside Kosgei on the Start Line, including Lonah Salpeter (ISR) Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN), Birhane Dibaba (ETH), Roza Dereje (ETH), Valary Jemeli (KEN), Degitu Azimeraw (ETH), Zeineba Yimer (ETH) and Tigist Girma (ETH).
Charlotte Purdue, who is the fastest Brit in the field and will be hoping to qualify for a spot on the British team for the World Athletics Championships in Oregon in 2022. Other Brits running include Natasha Cockram, and Sam Harrison.
The newly crowned Paralympic marathon champion Marcel Hug (SUI) will be the man to beat as he comes off a dominant Games in Tokyo.
Hug won an incredible four gold medals at the Paralympics in the 800m, 1,500m, ,5000m and defending the marathon title he won in Rio five years earlier. Britain’s David Weir, is racing in his 22nd consecutive London Marathon.
The defending women’s wheelchair champion Nikita den Boer (NED) will resume her battle with last year’s runner-up Manuela Schär (SUI) on the streets of London. Other women in the field include Tatyana McFadden (USA) and Shelly Woods (GBR).
However, for many people the race is a personal challenge and an opportunity to raise considerable amounts for their particular charities. The large number of fancy dress runners add to the carnival aspect of the race.
Due to the fact that many people may be unfamiliar with the Isle of Dogs I thought I would do a mini guide to the Isle of Dogs.
The race enters the Island at Mile 15 when it comes onto Westferry Road , this is a long road down the side of the west side of the Island. Lots of shops and a few pubs here and most of the spectators will be locals.
Just before Mile 16 you will pass the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre which leads into the Millwall Docks and is often filled with small yachts overlooked by the old cranes standing next to the dock.
The sweep around the bottom of the Island takes you near Island Gardens which has wonderful views of Greenwich and the river. Here is also the entrance and exit of the Greenwich foot tunnel.
Going up the East Ferry Road to mile 17 you will see the greenery of Millwall Park on the right and the Mudchute DLR on the left.
Just past Mudchute DLR you will see the entrance to Mudchute Farm and Park, one of the biggest inner city farms in Europe.
A little further on you have Asda on the right and Crossharbour DLR on the left, then the route takes you further up to Limeharbour adjacent to Millwall Dock and then onto Marsh Wall.
A short run down along Marsh Wall to South Quay DLR, is followed by a run past the International Hotel and Novotel to mile 18, there is a quick switchback into the Canary Wharf estate for Mile 19.
Canary Wharf has become a popular watching base for many spectators in normal times due to its proximity to the transport system and over 200 shops, bars and restaurants.
The race then goes out to Poplar and Limehouse to begin the long stretch home.
The event will be televised live on BBC TV and broadcast around the globe.
00:00: Virtual Virgin Money London Marathon (participants must complete the 26.2 miles by 23:59:59)
08:30: Virgin Money Giving Mini London Marathon
08:50: Elite wheelchairs
09:00: Elite women
09:30: Elite men and mass start
TV coverage (subject to change)
BBC2 08:00-10:00: Live coverage
BBC1 10:00-14:30: Live coverage
BBC Red Button/iPlayer 14:30-16:00: Live coverage
BBC2 18:00-19:00: Highlights
Good luck to everyone taking part in the race and everyone who contributes to one of London’s greatest sporting events.