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The Isle of Dogs and the London Marathon – Part 1 – History


The Marathon route around the Isle of Dogs

Regular readers of the blog will know that I often comment the Isle of Dogs is relatively unknown to fellow Londoners and a wider audience . However for one day in April it receives national and international interest due to its role in the London Marathon.

Many thousands of people will be pounding the streets of the Isle of Dogs and many thousands more will be lining the streets. However this is a bit of a contrast to the early days of the Marathon in the 1980s when the Isle of Dogs  suffered from transport problems and spectators generally watched the race in Greenwich and Central London. Local people supported the race but the population of the Isle of Dogs was a great deal smaller than today.

In the 1980s and 1990s race organisers had to contend with the massive building projects in Canary Wharf and often had to make small adjustments to the course.

A bigger change was made in 2005 , when the organisers decided to go anti – clockwise around the ” Island”.

For most runners the narrow streets and the winding part of the course in the Isle of Dogs at the 14 – 21 miles point has always been a challenge. For a number of runners they  hit the “wall ” at this stage and struggle to complete the course.

The Marathon itself has grown in size and popularity year by year balancing the elite races  which has been won by some of the greatest marathon runners and the mass of runners who include some who often dress up in outlandish outfits.This year there will be added interest with the appearance of Mo Farah long distance  hero from last years Olympic in nearby Stratford.

The first London Marathon was held in 1981, more than 20.000 applied to run, 6747 were accepted and 6,225 crossed the finishing line.

In 2012 a record 36,705 crossed the line out of the 37,227 who started.

The London Marathon is the largest annual fundraising event in the world, in 2012 runners raised £52.8 million for charities taking the total raised in all the London marathons to a staggering £610 million.