Athletics: London Marathon finish faces move to the Mall

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The Independent Online
THE Nutrasweet London Marathon will be losing its talismanic timepiece, Big Ben, for the next three years. The Marathon chairman, Chris Brasher, announced yesterday that the new finish to the event, to be held next year on 17 April, will be in the Mall, opposite St James's Palace, with Buckingham Palace as a backdrop.

The change is necessary because of major repair work to a rusting Westminster Bridge, which starts in November this year, and will continue for 30 months. The bridge will not be completely closed, but the London Marathon requires use of the full roadway width.

Brasher said: 'It is generally agreed that London has the best finish of any marathon, and we want to maintain the good feeling for competitors.'

The race will pass along the Embankment to reach Big Ben prematurely at 25 miles. The final mile will be the reverse of that done since 1982 - along Birdcage Walk then into the Mall.

The inaugural London Marathon, with only 7,000 runners, had a cramped finish in the adjacent Constitution Hill. Apart from the camera angles, the Mall finish affords much greater space in which to locate facilities for the projected 25,000 runners.

The entry system opens from today Friday 9 July until 17 September. Application forms are available, price pounds 2, from all Trustee Savings Bank branches, which should be completed and returned for an entry form to be sent out in early October. Residents of Northern Ireland should apply in writing to Nutrasweet London Marathon, PO Box 3460, London SE1 1RZ.