Flora London Marathon Course Changes 2005

The cobbles are gone!


Posted: 13 December 2004

The Flora London Marathon announced this news:

For its 25th anniversary, the Flora London Marathon will be faster than ever. Gone are the cobbles and the diversion round the Tower Hotel to be replaced by a fast stretch of road along the Highway and Tower Hill.

“Since 1981 the cobbles of the Tower of London and the subsequent carpet have been a love-hate feature of the course,“ said Race Director David Bedford.

“The twists and turns around the Tower Hotel and the Tower of London have slowed the race down. And last year the first three men slipped on the wet brick paving around the Tower Hotel. So we decided on radical surgery to solve both issues in one go. Without doubt these changes will result in a faster course.”

There have been five women’s World records at the London Marathon, culminating in Paula Radcliffe’s mixed-race 2:15:25 in 2003. Radcliffe also owns the women’s-only record of 2:18:56 from 2002. Khalid Khannouchi USA set a men’s World record of 2:05:38 in 2002.

The changes to the route affect the Highway/Isle of Dogs loop between 13 and 22 miles which will now be run in an anti-clockwise direction. Map. (2MB file size may take a while to download on a dial-up connection.)

nb. The course changes document is in PDF format - you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the document. You can download Acrobat Reader here


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It will seem a bit strange - but a change for the better I think.

In first few LM's I couldn't see what all the fuss was about - the cobbles never seemed to bother me; but I have to admit that the last couple of times I did feel them ripple through the aging joints!
Posted: 15/12/2004 at 21:30

Haaaaaaang on!!!!. They've changed the whole direction around the Isle of dogs - we now run counter-clockwise instead of clockwise. After 10 FLMs thats really going to throw me - bang goes my race strategy then.

Anyone else noticed this?!?
Posted: 16/12/2004 at 08:14

NO More ************ COBBLES a real result!

It will also make for a faster time as there won't be that wiggle through the bottleneck around St Katherines and it frees up the routes for crossing the course around Tower Bridge. A brilliant move although Sally Gunnell will have to find somewhere else to stand as the embankment by the Tower only ever had SG and a beefeater. It will help spread the crowds out around the Tower as we will get spectators on both sides around Trinity House. Although expect worse congestion at Tower Tube as a result.

Of course you can always run that section backwards to avoid the disorientation, but frankly I think its simply great and we will egt the boost of running down off Tower Hill in crowds.
Posted: 16/12/2004 at 09:49

When i looked at the route on the website it looks shorter! Optical illusion perhaps?
Posted: 16/12/2004 at 10:04

Jenny - guess so - it can't really be shorter.
Posted: 16/12/2004 at 10:22

Glad to have picked up on this, cos for years we've done the 35k elite drinks station on The Highway. It's a 7.00am start on a Sunday, which is always hard... And as I've set it up in the wrong spot previously (I think we got away with it!) it would have been a struggle this time.

Same road but wrong side of it!

This will stop repetitive strain injuries for those of you running on the same old cambers round IoD, year in and out. This change of direction will balance your bodies.
Posted: 18/12/2004 at 13:06

I have been rejected this year but I think for some - and first time FLM runners especially - its a shame as I am sure a lot of people look forward to this part for its history and colour, as well as the beefeaters and resident band
Posted: 18/12/2004 at 13:18

I agree - from someone who's NOT run the race for at least 8 years - that part of the course IS memorable. I'm not convinced that the 2 reasons given for the 'radical surgery' undertaken are convincing.
1. 'Three men slipped on wet pavement' at the Hotel. Right - so that'll never happen again, eh? Fast, tired runners won't slip on the new course when wet...?
2. 'twists/turns slowed people down' translates for me as "we need to make this as unchallenging a course as poss, to ensure 'records' and get publicity". How many people complain about that bit of course slowing them down?
Posted: 20/12/2004 at 12:09

Yeah, how could they want to remove hazards and provide as quick a course as possible in what we all know is a big charity event and fancy dress parade, not a running race:)
Posted: 20/12/2004 at 12:42

I now get to run past my house on the IoD a little earlier.. Can't work out if this is a good thing or not....?
Posted: 23/12/2004 at 15:32

James earl Jones
Tea no sugar and a tank of petrol vrooooooooooooom
Posted: 06/01/2005 at 17:04

Atmosphere on the Tower Cobbles what are you on. once you get past the Thistle Hotel and go under Tower Bridge its a miserable warder, Sally Gunnell, and three bewildered tourists. Aside from Blackfriars underpass is the least supported bit as you can't get there. I've never noticed the view as I'm too busy watching the cobbles.

The new route will take you around the top of the moat with crowds on both sides, allow access from Tower Bridge back to the Race, free the bottleneck for runners and spectators at St. Katherines. The best thing they have ever done!
Posted: 01/02/2005 at 12:38

Sally Gunnel and Beefeater?

Difficult to tell the difference these days isn't it.

Sorry, bit harsh that i know.
Posted: 01/02/2005 at 12:46


Sally Gunnel - Didn't she win one of Viz's top 100 borderline boilers one year (your head says no but your balls say go). Someone else described a car as a Gunnel; said not much to look at but a nice little runner.

Anyway, I liked the cobbles, just like a free mobile massage.

Surely the point of the change was to tempt Radcliff in to entering by persuading her the course would be faster.

Posted: 03/02/2005 at 09:00

Poor Sally - I have very fond memories of her - my very first race was against her - in Stanmer Park Brighton - the Race for Life 5K - at the start/Finish line she was behind me!! - OK so she was on her second lap and I was on my first but someone somewhere will have photograph of me in front of Sally - anyway I would prefer to see Roger as encouragement to keep going!!
Posted: 03/02/2005 at 12:38

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