2013’s Run to the Beat route takes to the river

Run to the Beat final route, July 2013

With two months to go, I’m hearing people have been getting leaflets giving advance notice of September’s Run To The Beat half-marathon. Nothing’s been received at 853 Towers, so I imagine delivery’s been sporadic, even in the area that’ll be locked in on Sunday 8 September.

But this means the route has emerged, and it’s different from the one which leaked out earlier this year. Notably, a dim idea to cut off the Sunday footballers at Charlton Park and Meridian Sports Club has been axed in favour of a route through Charlton Village. To make up the gap, the route’s going to run via the Charlton riverside at the Anchor & Hope pub – although I wonder whether anyone’s really thought through the turn off the river at Greenwich Yacht Club, through what’s effectively now a building site.

It’s a slight improvement for residents, probably isn’t much good for runners crammed in along the Thames path’s grimiest section (being showered with sand from the aggregates yard if they’re really lucky), and while there’s more room for cars to get around, it’s still not looking good for anyone who’ll need to take a bus that Sunday morning.

“We have to be absolutely clear about why Run To The Beat is here in the first place,” Greenwich Council cabinet member Maureen O’Mara declared last year – yet there’s still been no meaningful discussion with residents about the race, although in the wacky world of the current regime, a Labour council persisting with allowing a race in the teeth of behind-closed-doors opposition from its own Labour councillors will no doubt be portrayed as a triumph.

(Or you could always start a discussion with Ms O’Mara herself, by submitting a question to the next council meeting – the deadline’s in a fortnight – or by contacting your own councillor.)

So, what do you reckon? Have you had any meaningful discussions with organisers or the council? What will you be doing on 8 September? Will you be out watching the race, having an extra long lie-in or fleeing for the day?


  1. Hi
    As a Greenwich resident I am really looking forward to the race. One of the great things about living in Greenwich is that there are always so many things to do, be it watch a concert, go to a nice pub or run a half marathon.

  2. Thanks for this Darryl. The new course runs directly across the front of Greenwich Yacht Club, entirely preventing us accessing the premises and stopping us from running a community sailing event planned for the same day since last November. It would have been pleasant if we could have been engaged in the course planning process, or even notified directly.

  3. I received my leaflet with a copy of Greenwich Time although I do live in Brockley ward in Lewisham. Incidentally I signed up for this race so thank you Darryl for highlighting again that it us under two months away and ……..the final mile running up The Avenue in the Park – it will be a hillarious sight!

  4. As a runner this is an an awful course. Lots of up the road then turn round and run back down it. Useless for good times for those at the sharp end and just dull for the rest. I am sure the locals will show runners their usual excellent support but i do not get the appeal to runners of this event.

  5. Paul – yes it’s great to be able to go to the pub or concerts or indeed run in a half marathon. However, if the price for being able to do those things is to enclose thousands of residents and prevent people travelling by bus through the area it’s not so great is it?

    I have yet to see a convincing argument in favour of RTTB from a local residents point of view. Nor any statistics showing how many entrants actually live in the affected area.

    The way the Council has cozied up to the commercial interests behind this race reminds me of their behaviour a few years ago when the Red Bull air races were held down by the river.. The Council was happy to see large sections of the Thames Path closed to walkers, cyclists (and spectators) apparently on “safety grounds”. The real grounds, of course, were to deny people the ability to see the races for free so that the organisers could charge people for standing on what is otherwise a public right of way.

  6. Deliveries definitely seem sporadic – we’re just a few doors away from 853 Towers and got our GT and RTTB leaflet either yesterday or Monday.

    Oh well, I shall reprise my annual indifference to the event.

  7. I think some big events are obviously fine, eg the London Marathon is a landmark event, professionally organised, popular and the route makes sense. A certain number of big, well-thought-through events per year are not necessarily a problem, but once you start adding on lots of random smaller copycat events that close the roads and stop buses etc then many people will start to get fed up. It’s about balance of freedom – there’s a limit to how many times a community should be forced to tolerate closures weighed against the wishes of the runners taking part (no doubt with the best of intentions). The impression is that local residents are not in favour of RTTB for various reasons and so this event may just be one too many.

  8. That looks like a horrible course. Running up the avenue in the final mile? Are they out of their minds? (Not to mention the weaving up and down the same bits of road as you go along the course and as you mention above running on one of the grimmest bits of the Thames path.) Why bother?

  9. Run to the beat: A private event for the main purpose of making money for the organizers. Using the shield of charity. Probably costs more to the council to facilitate than money they raise for charity. Totally disrespects the people living within the circuit.
    Dont have a loop course and close all the roads – or quickly open the roads as runners have passed (at least). Believe it or not we are not all at home twitching the curtains on the Sunday – some people have to go to work and generally get around. I moved to quiet Greenwich from central London to avoid this sort of thing.

  10. Well for the third year I’ll be running it, glad that our borough hosts the sort of events that make the place that bit more interesting. I have always been a defender of Run to the Beat – but I have to say, finishing a half marathon by running up a long, reasonably steep hill is just madness. What are the organisers thinking? Spend all that time fighting off the naysayers, then kill it off by your own stupidity?!

  11. Being pedantic, but the race is on Sunday 8th September, not 7th…..

  12. Pedantic, and also unobservant, as I’d already pointed that out yesterday!

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