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London Marathon Day on the Isle of Dogs

It was expected over 40,000 runners were to attempt the London Marathon and from early morning, thousands descended on the Isle of Dogs to get in place to support their runners in the field.

Marathon day is quite a surreal occasion with lots of people visiting the Island for the first time and generally getting lost in the often confusing layout. This is especially the case around Canary Wharf with the massive building works complicating the matters considerably.

The Marathon on the Isle of Dogs begins with the arrival of the Male wheelchair races, the closely packed field raced around the Island with Britain’s David Weir and reigning champion Marcel Hug in the leading pack. Weir managed to win the race beating Hug and Rafael Botello Jimenez in third.

Next was the Women wheelchair race with Swiss Manuela Schar eventually beating American’s Amanda McGrory and Susannah Scaroni .

One of the most remarkable races was the Elite women’s race with Kenya’s Mary Keitany having a long lead when she reached the Island and finishing with a World Record of 02:17:01, Tirunesh Dibaba and Aselefech Mergia of Ethiopia finished second and third.

There was a surprise in the men’s elite race with Kenyan Daniel Wanjiru beating track legend Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia with fellow Kenyan Bedan Karoki finishing his first marathon in third.

The elite races are just one part of the marathon day with  thousands of club athletes, fun runners, charity fundraisers, celebrities, politicians and fancy dress costume wearers pounding their way around the Island.

Coming between the 15 and 18 mile points, the Island is not a popular spot for many marathon runners who begin to struggle at these particular points. However because the crowds are not quite so big, this section is popular for families and friends to congregate to shout encouragement to their particular runners.

In 2016, the London Marathon raised £59.4 million for charity and many of the runners will have personal reasons for facing the gruelling distance. Local Islanders have supported the Marathon since its beginning and still turn out in numbers to cheer on the runners on their way.

Congratulations to all those involved in putting on and taking part in one of London’s premier events which is watched live by millions and has a massive global audience.

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Reflections on the London Marathon 2016 by Dawn Wedajo

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I was delighted to receive a piece about the London Marathon by contributor, Dawn Wedajo which helps to explain why the event is so special. In many ways it brings people together to offer encouragement to the thousands who are running for a variety of reasons and causes. Runners enter the Island at around 15 miles and depart at around 19 miles, for many runners this can be a time of real struggle and they tend to need some encouragement. This post also gives me the opportunity to feature some of these runners who are an inspiration for the many thousands that watch the race each year.

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Sunday morning, the temperature was fairly cool although better than what had been forecast. I managed to bag myself a great vantage point along with many others on the East Ferry road. I could hear the rumble of trains in the background  even amongst the lively chatter in the crowd.

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 More and more people began to arrive and the atmosphere began to build. Families, couples and friends. Some of the younger children held plastic batons and as the athletes came into view the batons were used to make as much noise as possible to spur the runners on their way. Others  munched on burgers and ice cream as they watched even though it wasn’t a particularly warm day.

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I often feel humbled and inspired after watching the London Marathon 2016. It was fantastic to see so many individuals of all ages and abilities running, for me that’s the beauty of witnessing this incredible event up close and personal. Seeing amazing elite athletes as well as fun runners just makes this day a bit more special and memorable.

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Another important aspect of the event is that it brings out a sense of community. The crowds yell their support for athletes with enthusiasm, encouraging words, loud applause and rapturous cheers.

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From time to time the sun made brief appearances from behind thick grey clouds. Still, the runners kept coming, many tired, some slowed their pace considerably others were exhilarated but collectively all were focused on completing all twenty-six gruelling miles to reach the finish line.

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I’m not much of a runner myself but I was inspired never the less. Who knows next year It could be my turn.

Many thanks to Dawn for her contribution and congratulations to all who took part in the London Marathon.

Race Day : The London Marathon 2016 on the Isle of Dogs – 24th April 2016

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The Isle of Dogs is thrust into the national and international spotlight once a year with the arrival of the London Marathon. In the week before the race, new boardings appear on the roadside and metal barriers arrive to be placed along the route.

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On the morning of the race, volunteers and charities take their spots along the route in eager anticipation of yet another carnival of running. People were not deterred by the icy cold blasts and the threat of snow and began to take their positions along the route . The spectators on the west of the Island have the benefit of watching the runners going down Westferry Road and returning via Marsh Wall before the runners head into Canary Wharf.

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A Choir on Marsh Wall

The elite wheelchair races are the first to start and finish and when they raced around the  Island,  the eventual winner Marcel Hug from Switzerland, Australian Kurt Fearnley who was second and six-time London winner and local favourite David Weir who finished third were all in close contention.

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America’s Tatyana McFadden continued her domination in the women’s elite wheelchair race winning the race for a fourth consecutive year. McFadden beat Manuela Schar of Switzerland with Wakako Tsuchida of Japan third.

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The drama continued with Kenyan Jemima Sumgong winning the race after earlier suffering a fall at a drink station. Sumgong pulled clear of last years winner Ethiopia’s Tigist Tufa of Ethiopia with Florence Kiplagat of Kenya third.

The men’s race was another win for Kenya with Eliud Kipchoge racing to a new course record of two hours, three minutes and four seconds which was only about seven seconds outside the world record. Stanley Biwott of Kenya was second and Kenenisa Bekele third in one of the quickest London Marathons ever.

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After the elite races, the crowds on the Island get bigger with family and friends of the runners of the mass race taking their places along the route, other spectators come out in large numbers to offer support to the runners who face their own particular challenges, it is the mix of serious runners, celebrities, fancy dress runners and fun runners make the marathon the great success it is. Many of the runners run for their favourite charity and since 1981, competitors in the race have raised nearly 58 million pounds for various charities.

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Eventually the large mass of runners dwindle down to smaller groups and spectators begin to drift away, the noise and excitement of the big day is replaced by quietness with the occasional lorry appearing on the course to take down various structures and the cleaning department picking up the tons of litter.

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Congratulations to all those who took part and all the volunteers who make  the London Marathon, the special event  it  is.

 

A Guide to the London Marathon 2016 on the Isle of Dogs

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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.

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The race tends to attract the world’s greatest men and women marathon runners and this year is no exception. 2015 champion Eliud Kipchoge takes on 2014 champion Wilson Kipsang when the two Kenyans head a strong field at the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 24 April.

Kipchoge, Kipsang, Dennis Kimetto and Stanley Biwott head a strong Kenyan team in pursuit of Marathon glory and Rio 2016 Olympic places. The Kenyans will not have it all their own way with Ethiopia’s triple Olympic gold medallist, Kenenisa Bekele, and Eritrea’s hero from the Beijing World Championships, Ghirmay Ghebreslassie in the field.

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In the women’s elite race, Tigist Tufa will return to the scene of her greatest triumph when she lines up to defend her Virgin Money London Marathon title. Mary Keitany was denied a third London Marathon victory last year and the Kenyan looks set to be Tufa’s main rival again in 2016. Dibaba, Cherono and Florence Kiplagat will also be in a strong field.

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No fewer than 13 Britons are set to line up in the race with the hope of securing a place on Team GB’s For Rio. Londoner Scott Overall and Scot Callum Hawkins have already beaten the Olympic qualifying time and need to be in the first two Britons across the line to guarantee a ticket to South America.

Two unusual features of this year’s race is Tim Peake will be running the course in Space and a runner will cross the finish line in The Mall at the end of the Virgin Money London Marathon to become the millionth finisher in the history of the event.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Just past Mudchute 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 to mile 18, there is a quick switchback into the Canary Wharf estate for Mile 19.

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Canary Wharf has become a popular watching base for many spectators due to its proximity to the transport system and the over 200 shop, bars  and restaurants.

The race then goes out to Poplar to begin the long stretch home.

Some of the benefits of watching the Marathon on the Isle of Dogs is that you can actually watch in comfort rather than being part of the massive crowds in Greenwich and Tower Bridge. You also have easy access to the transport system and access to many pubs, bars and restaurants.

To make sure you are in the right place at the right time here is rough time guide .

Start time

The wheelchair race starts at 08.55 am

The elite women’s field: 9.15am

Elite men and mass start: 10.00am

 

At Mile 15 (Westferry)

Wheelchair men 09:46  Wheelchair women 09:55

Elite women 10:35 Elite men 11:11

Mass begins   11:21

 

At Mile 17 (Mudchute )

Approximate times when pass Mudchute

Wheelchairs 9:53 (men), 10:03 (women);

Elite women from 10:45

Elite men from 11:21

The masses  from 12:26.

 

At Mile 19 (Canary Wharf)

Approximate times when pass Canary Wharf

Wheelchairs 10:03 (men), 10:11 (women);

Elite women from 10:56

Elite men from 11:30

The masses  from 12:46.

The Search for Sporting Heroes – The Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year

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East London has a remarkable record of producing sporting greats in the past, however the Canary Wharf Group has recently launched its annual Sports Personality of the Year Awards to search for the current top sporting talent in our East London community.

The prize winners win cash prizes and trophies within the following categories:

The Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year

Senior Sports Team of the Year

Junior Sports Team of the Year

Sports Group of the Year

The Voluntary Sports Commitment Award

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Mercy Brown

Previous winners of the Canary Wharf Sports Personality of the Year Award

2014 Mercy Brown – Weightlifting

2013 Tyesha Mattis – Gymnastics

2012 Scarlett Mew Jensen – Diving

2011 Ashley Facey Thompson – Table Tennis

2010 Lucas Taylor – Tennis

2009 Nathan Hanson – Athletics

2008 Ricky Lee Turner – Judo

2007 Soyfur Rahman – Taekwondo

2006 Sally Hoang – Table Tennis

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Perri Shakes-Drayton

2005 Perri Shakes Drayton – Athletics

2004 Aaron Edwards – Cheerleading

2003 Halil Zorba – Weightlifting

2002 Dervis Konuralph – Swimming

2001 Symone Belle – Athletics

The awards are asking for nominations from members of the public for deserving local athletes, sports clubs and administrators for their achievements in the previous 12 months. Applications will be considered from Tower Hamlets and each of the boroughs surrounding it, including Hackney, Newham, Greenwich and Barking & Dagenham.

Entries close on the 18th December 2015.

The 2012 Olympics provided a major boost for East London sport but away from all the glamour, it is often unsung hard work of the athletes, sports clubs and administrators that keeps the various sports going. It is this hard work that these awards celebrate, so if you wish to nominate someone, you can find the nomination form here.

London Triathlon in Canary Wharf – 9th August 2015

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Regular readers will know that Canary Wharf and the Isle of Dogs reach national and international prominence when the London Marathon winds its way through the streets. Another sporting event  arrived in Canary Wharf today with the cycle section in the London Triathlon.

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The main section of the Triathlon is taking place at ExCel Exhibition centre and in the Royal Docks.  Triathlon is one of the fastest growing sports and up to 13,000 triathletes were expected to take part in the London Triathlon making it the world’s largest triathlon.

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Part of the appeal of the event is that caters for all ages and abilities. There is also a wide variety of distances to try.

Super Sprint
Distances: 400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5k run

Sprint
Distances: 750m swim, 20km bike, 5k run

Olympic
Distances: 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10k run

Olympic Plus
Distances: 1.5km swim, 80km bike, 10k run

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Team Relay
Distances: Sprint – 750m swim, 20km bike, 5k run or Olympic

– 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10k run

Senior Elite
Distances: Olympic – 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10k run

Junior Elite
Distances: 750m swim, 26k bike, 5k run

Youth Super Sprint
Distances: 400m swim, 10km bike, 2.5k run

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If you are around Canary Wharf, why not give the triathletes some support  as they cycle around the course.

Race Day : The London Marathon on the Isle of Dogs – 26th April 2015

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On a cold and damp morning on the Isle of Dogs, there was still plenty of expectation as people awaited the arrival of the 2015 London Marathon. One of the benefits of watching the race on the Island is that you can watch the runners go down Westferry Road and watch them return on Marsh Wall before they go into Canary Wharf.

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The first part of the Marathon features the elite athletes and it was the wheelchair competitors who made the first appearance  with six time winner David Weir leading the pack.RSCN3162

In the women’s race, the favourite, American Tatyana McFadden was already well in the lead as she reached the 18 mile post.

Next to arrive were the IPC World Championships which featured contests for visually impaired athletes and single leg amputees.

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All the main competitors were at the front when the elite women arrived, Edna and Florence Kiplagat,  Mary Keitany and Priscah Jeptoo  are the top four women marathon runners in the world and were expected to contest the finish.

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In an equally strong field for the men’s elite field In the men’s race, Reigning champion Wilson Kipsang, world record holder Dennis Kimetto was joined at the front by  Eliud Kipchoge and Stanley Biwott.

It is estimated that record numbers are expected to run the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 26 April, after more than 38,000 registered for the race.The previous record was set in 2012 when 37,227 started and 36,705 finished the race.

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But what makes the London Marathon unique is  the thousands of club athletes, fun runners, celebrities,  and fancy dress costume wearers.

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Millions of pounds are raised by these people who chase their own personal targets, whether measured in pounds raised, or hours, minutes and seconds on the clock.

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Each has their own story to tell of what has inspired them to undertake the gruelling 26.2 miles marathon, one example is Maame Baryeh  who is running for the London Community Foundation who are trying to make a difference to the lives of Londoners by connecting people who need help with those who are willing to give, if you like  to  donate to this particular London cause, here is the link here .

Congratulations to all those who took part and all the volunteers who make  the London Marathon, the special event  it  is.