East End chiefs battle to keep marathon

East End council leaders and MPs have signed a letter protesting at the proposal to stage the London 2012 marathon in central London.

OLYMPIC chiefs have been warned not to take the London 2012 marathon away from the East End in a letter signed by Newham Mayor Sir Robin Wales and East Ham MP Stephen Timms and West Ham MP Lyn Brown.

The letter, which is also signed by council leaders and MPs from Tower Hamlets and Hackney, said that the proposal to stage the marathon in central London instead of the East End would be at the “expense of the people of East London”, for many of whom the race would be their only experience of the 2012 Games.

Following the protest, Olympic boss Lord Coe remained defiant that there was “no chance” of reverting to the original route arguing that it would grid lock roads around Tower Bridge.

Lord Coe said: “I have to be conscious of the needs of the athletes, spectators and those Londoners not involved in the Games.

“I never thought that an Olympic Games in London was ever going to be business as usual but we do have a responsibility to make this work for London.

“This was a hard decision for me to make.”