The “London Crossing“ - Premiere at the 31st real,- BERLIN MARATHON 2004
Our thanks go out to our colleagues at the Flora London Marathon and the police from New Scotland Yard
2004-10-15One thing that is certain to remain constant at the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON is the official distance of the course of 42.195 kilometre – but everything else going on about it is in constant change — for all kinds of reasons. Last year the course was altered and the start and finish were relocated to the Brandenburg Gate, which remained unchanged this year.
But there was an organisational premiere in one detail on the course this year that was a while in making.
Throughout the year the organisers of the real,- BERLIN- MARATHON are
of course present at numerous other running events, advertising for the
race—and they naturally take a look at the local organisational and
technical procedures for these events.
London and New York City are “musts”
The London Marathon and the New York City Marathon are a “must” every year. In London, the Berliners noticed that just about 2 kilometres before the finish at “The Mall“ at Buckingham Palace there were three ground level crossing areas over which the spectators could cross the course to St. James’s Park without disturbing the runners. They crossed without the help of a tunnel or crosswalk—and it was fascinating to watch.
The fenced-off island in the middle of the street
A few Bobbies of the London police assisted by numerous event volunteers led a large block of spectators to the fenced-off island in the middle of the street while the stream of runners continued undisturbed on the other side of the street. When the middle island was filled, the police and helpers redirected the runners to the other side of the street with the help of some street tape, thus closing off one lane and allowing the spectators to cross to the other side.
This procedure has run smoothly for several years, and the amusing
announcements by some of the policemen prompting them to cheer on the runners
made it work even better. One policeman spoke seriously into his microphone
that “you won’t be let over the street until you clap harder and
put on a happy face”. It worked!
Massive problems for spectators and participants at the
Last year in Berlin at the 30th real,- BERLIN-MARATHON 2003 there were massive problems for the spectators and participants trying to cross the Pariser Platz – shortly before the finish on “Straße des 17. Juni“. The tunnel passage through the subway station “Unter den Linden“ was closed temporarily due to overcrowding—and for a while practically nothing moved at all.
This year this crossing path was closed entirely due to construction on the
“Chancellor Line” of the subway system, the station being closed
A while ago, the organisers of the real,- BERLIN-MARATHON had notified the
Berlin police of this method of crossing, and this year the plan was approved
to take Berlin officers to the London Marathon to let them see this method
working in person. With the assistance of the organisers of the London
Marathon, both of the Berlin officers were greeted in the headquarters of the
London police, New Scotland Yard, together with representatives from the Berlin
Marathon. There they were briefed in details of the planning, execution, and
safety measures of the London Marathon.
The race through the big English capital metropolis is a gigantic
logistic operation, from Greenwich Park in Blackheath to the finish near the
Buckingham Palace – in the middle of the government quarter. The police
guests from Berlin were then convinced by the live-demonstration of the London
Crossing during the race.
The procedure of the London Crossing for the movement of participants and spectators from one side of the street to the other without disturbing the flow of the race was given the ok by the Berlin police for its premiere on September 26 at the 31st real,- BERLIN-MARATHON 2004 on Pariser Platz!
Hans-Jürgen Blisch, who led this experiment for crossing the square,
put together a good team to carry it out. The police kept a low profile,
sceptical at first, but was then quite impressed with its implementation, which
took place without any major mishaps.
This premiere at Pariser Platz can certainly be considered a success, even
if there is still room for improvement in the future. With the number of people
wishing to cross it goes without saying that some lines will form. In London
they are used to the wait and take it with humour as they also watch the
The marathon organisers are constantly learning from one another and are
quick to copy that what assists their own race. One could say: “You can
learn a lot from travelling!” The real,- BERLIN-MARATHON would like to
express thanks to their colleagues from the Flora London Marathon and the
police from New Scotland Yard for the practical lesson and idea for the
implementation of the “London Crossing” in Berlin.
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