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People’s Olympics Marathon slap in face for Lord Coe’s 2012 Marathon

12:46 17 November 2010

London Citizens' Assembly launches Olympics Peoples' Marathon

London Citizens' Assembly launches Olympics Peoples' Marathon

Olivia Harris, (+44) 7881 810 878, www.oliviaharrisphotos.com

THE ‘People’s Marathon’ has been launched as a slap in the face for the 2012 Games organisers who have snatched the prestigious Olympics Marathon event away from East London.

An angry London Citizens annual assembly at Walthamstow launched the fight back last night to bring the marathon back to the East End.

Some 2,000 delegates from organisations, voluntary groups, churches, mosques and youth clubs across London stood up en masse when the vote was called to show contempt for Lord Coe’s Olympics committee switching the 26-mile race to the West End.

The People’s Marathon ideal is being set up by Telco, The East London Citizens Organisation, in partnership with the East London Advertiser which began the fight back last month.

Mum-of-two Bethan Lant, who has run in the London Marathon, is chairing the Telco move.

“The whole of East London is bitterly disappointed that the route has been switched,” she told the assembly.

“The East End is good enough for the London Marathon each year—so why isn’t it good enough for the Olympics Marathon?”

The proposed People’s ‘alternative’ would run from The Mall through the City, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Newham “ending up where it should” at the Olympics stadium being built at Stratford.

The move comes a week after Tower Hamlets’ new mayor, lawyer Lutfur Rahman, threatened Lord Coe’s Olympics organisers with High Court action for breaching their pledge to run the marathon through East London.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Tower Hamlets as a ‘host’ borough,” he said. “Some people won’t get the chance to see the events apart from the marathon which would inspire the next generation.”

Telco activist lawyer Robyn O’Reilly joined the campaign angered at ‘alternative political interests’ she says don’t want “the East End’s social poverty and neglect in the gaze of the world’s media.”

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