The Olympic Marathon 2012 will break from its usual route to take in more central London landmarks, bypassing the East End altogether, in an attempt to make the race more TV-friendly.
Most Olympic marathons end in the main stadium in Stratford, but there were concerns that this would mean much of the race was outside the city centre with few spectators, making boring television.
The original marathon route would have passed through Tower Hamlets and the East End. Instead, runners will now complete several loops taking in Buckingham Palace, Birdcage Walk, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Houses of Parliament.
The move follows a campaign by the London 2012 Organising Committee (Locog). Locog chair Sebastian Coe said:
“Our prime objective as the Organising Committee has to be to deliver venues and events that work for the athletes, spectators, and for the host city.
“We are confident that the new route is the best way to do this.”
However, the change of route has angered many east Londoners and been described by one east London council as a “travesty”.
Councillor Helal Abbas, Leader of Tower Hamlets Council, told BBC London the new route meant that that Tower Hamlets was getting all of the disruption but none of the benefits of the games.
He said that Tower Hamlets had originally been promised three events would take place in the borough, including the marathon, and now none will happen there.
Rushanara Ali, Labour MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, has added her voice to the protest about the new marathon route, claiming the move was because organisers are “ashamed” of the East End.