Meet the Venue: London Marathon

We wanted our Meet the Venue blog series to give you the chance to have a peek behind the curtain at some of the UK’s biggest and most prestigious venues. The opportunities to work at sites such as the Royal Opera House in London and Elstree Studios in Hertfordshire are not ones that we take for granted. But while we usually focus on these more traditional venues, this month, we wanted to offer something a little more abstract in line with one of the UK’s upcoming global sporting events:

Welcome to our next venue:

Name: London Marathon

Age: 38 years old

Location: London, United Kingdom

Size: 26.2 miles

Capacity: 40,255

History:

The idea of the London Marathon came about in a pub during a conversation between two friends, as many great ideas do. These two friends were former Olympic athletes Chris Brasher and John Disley. In 1978, both, middle-aged, were running at club level for merely the enjoyment of the sport. Other club members had attended the New York Marathon that year, and this had been the topic of conversation in the pub on a particular evening. There were discussions of how different it was to the then countryside-based UK marathons which had few participants and even fewer spectators. The New York Marathon had a buzzing atmosphere and enthused spectators who were as keen for the runners to finish as the runners were themselves. Intrigued by this alien notion, the former Olympic pair set off for the States in 1979 and took part in that year’s event.

An experience that words struggle to describe. The pair saw first hand how special an event of this size and scale could be and saw the potential in hosting a similar event in London. Having written an article for The Observer upon his return, Brasher had ended the piece by pondering the possibility of hosting an event in London. This inspired a meeting between Brasher and Disley, then Editor of The Observer and various authorities such as the Greater London Council, the police, the London Tourist Board and the Amateur Athletics Association. A track design was drawn up, budgets were arranged, and in March of 1981, the first London Marathon was run. The debut year saw roughly 20,000 people apply to enter with 7,747 competing in the event. It also saw Joyce Smith breaking the British women’s marathon record, a suitably special occasion for the first of many marathons.

Since its conception, the marathon has seen over 1 million participants cross the finish line with millions more watching, either cheering from the sidelines or tuning in to watch and listen on the TV or radio.

Gallowglass at the London Marathon

The number of organisations that are involved in the London marathon is staggering and at Gallowglass, we are proud to say that we also play our part to support our clients in their role during this iconic event. Over the years, we have crewed for businesses such as Live Trakway, WRG and Better Green Ltd to name just a few.

Often, the most important part of the process for our crewmen is handing back the streets to the people of the city as quickly as possible after the race has finished. This involves almost 200 crew members to assist with setup, the race itself and taking down the event after it has finished; including removing the 21,000 barriers it takes to line the route. Crewing at the London Marathon always brings something new and different and our team never have two days the same. Not only do they get to experience being part of one of the sporting calendar’s most prestigious events but they also come into close contact with some of the globe’s most prominent athletes, a rare opportunity only afforded by working at Gallowglass.

Being involved in this event is a unique opportunity as although it is a temporary venue, it is also a globally recognised event that continuously raises substantial amounts of money for countless good causes. If you are interested in getting involved in iconic events such as the London Marathon and are looking for event crew jobs in London, why not inquire about a career here at Gallowglass today?

About the author

Managing Director, Gallowglass Crewing.

The whole of Jon’s 15 years’ events industry experience have been spent with Gallowglass – beginning when he joined our Northern management team co-ordinating crewing operations in the run-up to the Manchester Commonwealth Games. As his management responsibilities have grown, he has led teams in the delivery of a wide range corporate and public events, from the London 2012 Olympics to building the Fortress fence around the Glastonbury Festival.

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