Organisers of the 29th London Marathon were today busily trying to plan a new route for the world famous run as they were informed of the news that the Tower Bridge had got stuck in an open position.
The iconic bridge is one of the main landmarks of the event and is the crossing for the athletes to get from one side of the river Thames to the other.
The bridge was early on Saturday morning to let a vessel named the SB Hydrogen through but then ran into mechanical difficulty as it tried to close again.
Hundreds of tourists watched in bewilderment as engineers desperately tried to make the bridge operable again but eventually drifted away as news filtered through that the bridge would not be closing in the foreseeable future.
An urgent meeting was called by London Marathon race director David Bedford to try and set a new route for the runners that would go via the adjacent London Bridge; however the police and Southwark council are set to oppose this idea as it could cause traffic chaos if it is closed off for several hours.
It is expected the new route will have to stay south of the river Thames and go via the less scenic route along the South Circular, then back along the Old Kent Road to the finish line on the pitch of Millwall football stadium. TV viewers will be treated to the sights of previously unseen London landmarks such as Manze's Eel and Pie House in Peckham, the Stockwell Park housing estate in Brixton and the Matalan superstore by Lewisham railway station.
This is yet another disaster to beset this year's Marathon sponsored by Virgin. Ash from the Icelandic volcano has hampered the efforts of top athletes from around the world getting to London to run the 26.2 miles. Top Ethiopians and Kenyans have abandoned their journeys so bookies are recalculating the odds for the winner of the marathon and are expecting a British man to win the men's race for the first time in years.
The new favourite to win is Britain's number one athlete and gold medal hope for the 2012 Olympics, 85 year old Sir Jimmy Saville.