Commonwealth Games marathon creates a space race in the city center

When isn’t more space the final frontier? Answer – when it gets in the way of runners taking part in the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games Marathon on Saturday July 30.

Just 18 months after it was laid, a new socially distanced welcoming sidewalk on Church Street in the downtown Colmore business district was dug up and removed in an overnight operation to allow marathon runners to load up the steep hill to breathe easier.

Two wooden ‘parklets’, each capable of seating 20 people outside, have also been removed from Church Street to create more space for racing.

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Another parklet on Colmore Row, outside the 200 Degrees cafe, has been removed for a different reason and the one on Barwick Street will also be removed in June.

Birmingham City Council said the Church Street pavement would be ‘returned’ at a later date after the Commonwealth Games – whose organizers did not confirm the marathon route until October 2021.



December 2020: How the newly decorated parklet outside the Hotel du Vin looked opposite the widened welcome sidewalk on Church Street after parking spaces were removed

The reception area was dug out on the night of Monday May 23, leaving a three-sided ‘rectangle’ of double yellow lines towards the middle of the newly widened road.

The lines were blacked out overnight on Tuesday May 24, with new double yellow lines painted on the road along the original sidewalk.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, the Utopia bar on the corner of Barwick Street has become The Roebuck, run by Fuller’s, which also owns The Old Joint Stock, but the Home Is Where… cafe deli has closed completely . Urban Coffee remained on the corner of Edmund Street and bespoke suit company Clements and Church is still in business.

The marathon will feature two key sections – an 18km loop that all runners will complete twice – followed by a 6.2km section incorporating the Jewelery Quarter and downtown en route to the finish line in Victoria Square via Church Street.

A City Council spokesman said: “Businesses and City Center BIDs have been advised of the removal of parklets and are both understanding and supportive of the need to do so.

“The parklets were removed in April to help prepare the town center route for the Commonwealth Games marathon on July 30, 2022 and they will be returned at a later date, after the Games. The reception area on Church Street was removed for the same reason this week and will also be returned at a later date.



May 24, 2022: What Church Street looked like after the widened sidewalk was removed overnight, leaving double yellow lines in the middle of the road
May 24, 2022: What Church Street looked like after the widened sidewalk was removed overnight, leaving double yellow lines in the middle of the road

‘Pavement maintenance work is also planned for Colmore Row, outside the Grand Hotel, to replace tarmac patches and re-level the pavement which will begin in the coming weeks.’

Fully supporting this decision, Michele Wilby, CEO of Colmore BID, said: “Parklets have been one of our main ambitions for several years. It was clear that during the pandemic the need for more outdoor space was of utmost importance so the program became a top priority as we worked closely with Birmingham City Council and EventMen to provide a solution. appropriate.

“Over the last two years we have installed seven parklets in the neighborhood and they are really part of the furniture as people use them to have lunch, have a coffee, meet friends and of course enjoy our fantastic welcoming places.

“Although the majority of parklets will not be there for the Commonwealth Games, the intention is that they will return at a later date.

“Greening the neighborhood remains one of our primary goals, as set out in our business plan. The recent launch of our Going Green master plan has given us more thought about exactly how parklets and the public realm can evolve. We can’t wait for these spaces to come back with a new lease of life.



May 24, 2022: What Church Street looked like after the widened sidewalk was removed overnight, leaving double yellow lines in the middle of the road
May 24, 2022: What Church Street looked like after the widened sidewalk was removed overnight, leaving double yellow lines in the middle of the road

Marathon Details

The longest race of the Commonwealth Games is scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday July 30. There will be four races in total covering 26.2 miles (42.2 km) – the men’s and women’s T53/54 and the men’s and women’s marathons.

Each race will start at the former Birmingham Wholesale Market site, now known as Smithfield.

The loop section (south) – 2 x 18km

At the end of Sherlock Street the route passes through Belgrave Middleway via Belgrave Interchange and onto Pershore Road (A441), the start of the loop section of the route.

After passing Edgbaston Stadium, athletes will turn left into Cannon Hill Park before continuing on Pershore Road towards Stirchley and Bournville, ready to return to Pershore Road via Bournville Village Green and Sycamore Road.

They will then continue north, past Edgbaston Stadium towards the Belgrave Interchange for the start of round two.



May 25, 2022: The double yellow lines towards the middle of Church Street were removed overnight and replaced with lines next to the original sidewalk after the home sidewalk was removed overnight in late 2020 on the night of monday 23
May 25, 2022: The double yellow lines towards the middle of Church Street were removed overnight and replaced with lines next to the original sidewalk after the home sidewalk was removed overnight in late 2020 on the night of monday 23

The downtown section – 6.2 km

After completing a second lap, athletes will continue straight on Belgrave Middleway back onto Sherlock Street and then turn left onto Hurst Street.

The route passes through Chinatown and the Gay Village, via the Hippodrome Theatre, towards New Street station.

From New Street station, athletes will pass through Paradise Circus and loop past Centenary Square, passing the ICC, REP and Library of Birmingham, before continuing north towards the Jewelery Quarter, passing Chamberlain Clock and St Paul’s Church after 41km, before heading downtown for the final mile.

The uphill nature of the final stages means riders will be delighted with all the space they can find in Church Street.

The final mile of the route winds through Colmore’s business district with runners heading along Edmund Street, turning right into Church Street, then right again onto Colmore Row past St. Philip’s Cathedral.

Athletes will walk down Colmore Row to the finish line in Victoria Square, just outside Birmingham Council House and City Hall.

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