The 2019 Vitality Big Half is coming to Tower Hamlets

BH_Tower Bridge

Thousands of runners, including none other than Olympic legend Mo Farah, will take to the streets of Tower Hamlets on 10 March as part of the Vitality Big Half – London’s exciting half marathon event. 

The 13.1-mile race starts at 9am by Tower Bridge and finishes at the iconic Cutty Sark. Participants will get support every step of the way from the cheering crowds and live music along the route.

Highly trained security personnel, bag searches, sniffer dogs, the placement of vehicle mitigation and extensive CCTV across the entire route – as well as other measures that may not be visible will help ensure the safety of runners and people cheering them on.

The council is committed to helping our residents to live happier, healthier lives with greater access to cultural, community and leisure activities. We are delighted to welcome The Vitality Big Half to the borough and we have been encouraged by the fantastic response from residents looking to sign up to take part. 

About the race

The Vitality Big Half will be held on Sunday 10 March 2019.

The vision of the organisers is to create a sports event for all Londoners that will inspire entries from participants from all backgrounds so that the event mirrors the diverse demographics of London’s multi-cultural population.

The event will pass through Tower Hamlets and three other London boroughs. It will get underway at 9am and is expected to finish by 12.30pm. 

In addition to thousands of ordinary people and community groups taking part, The Big Half will also feature an international elite field of able bodied and wheelchair athletes including none other than Olympic legend Mo Farah

The route

The Big Half will start by Tower Bridge. Runners will head to Canary Wharf, then come back along the Highway to cross Tower Bridge into the borough of Southwark as they head towards the finish at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

The Big Half is about more than just the run – it’s about the communities that the participants are running through. The event will be celebrating those communities all the way round the route with DJs, bands, food and plenty of colour.

Road closures

Wapping & The Highway – Road closures from 7am to 12.30pm on Sunday 10 March

Residents and businesses in Wapping will be affected as the route passes along the Highway between the start line and mile two and then returns via The Highway, Garnet Street, Wapping High Street and Thomas More Street. Four vehicle crossing points within the road closures will operate throughout the day to allow residents access. However, the vehicle crossing points will be closed during the following times to allow runners to pass safely.

Limehouse & Westferry – Road closures from 7am to 12.30pm on Sunday 10 March

Residents and businesses in Limehouse and Westferry will be affected by the route as it passes through Westferry Road, Limehouse Causeway and Narrow Street.

There will be one vehicle crossing point at Three Colt Street open until 8.55am and reopening at approximately 11.10am. It is closed between this time to allow runners to pass safely. This vehicle crossing point will allow access for residents, who are located south of Limehouse Causeway and are otherwise landlocked by the event. Horseferry Road, normally one way, will be temporarily made two-way for traffic for the duration of the road closures to allow access for residents who usually park in that area.


BigHalf_parking map


Parking will be suspended along the route with residents asked to relocate their cars.

The council recognises that this has caused some concern for residents in the Wapping area so we have taken steps to provide additional parking. 

Residents with permit parking on the race route should look to move their cars into suitable safe parking spaces in adjacent side streets. This should be done before the road closures come into force on Sunday at 5am.

The council has also arranged for free additional parking in two local car parks between 6.30pm on Saturday and 9am on Monday. Council staff will be on hand to assist with parking and provide overnight security. Cars will not be allowed into the car parks beyond 5am on Sunday, and will be allowed out from 12.30pm on Sunday.

The car parks are:

  • The council car park in Scandrett Street.
  • The car park at the John Orwell Sports Centre in Tench Street.

 Getting around

With many roads closed for the race, the best way to get around is by public transport. London Underground, London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) offer great travel options for spectators.

Before setting off to watch your loved ones take part in the inaugural Vitality Big Half, you need to prepare – spectating isn’t quite as tough as running but it still needs some thought:

  • Travel light – you may be standing for hours on end, so keep your belongings to a minimum and try to leave valuables at home.
  • Comfortable clothes (especially shoes) are a must. You should be prepared for a typical March day in London – sun, showers and wind.
  • It will be busy in Greenwich, especially near the Cutty Sark, where the Finish Line is located. If you are a regular commuter, think rush hour. If not, think what it’s like when you attend a concert or festival. You will often have to queue and some stations may be forced to shut temporarily while staff clear the crowds.

Tower Hamlets is fortunate to be well served by London Underground, London Overground, the DLR and bus services. You can plan your route in advance and keep up to date with service updates on the day by visiting the TfL website.

Find out more by visiting The Big Half's dedicated Spectator Information Page

Posted on Wednesday 6th March 2019