29th September 2022


London Marathon Mile Markers

Thousands of athletes are set to take part in this weekend’s much anticipated London Marathon. And when they do they’ll all see the genius of two Swindon-based engineers without even knowing it!

Bob Bradley and David Speight of Scaled Ltd, based on the Rushy Platt industrial estate in Swindon, have spent months creating fifty-one mile markers for the event. They’ve made them from recycled plastic, using their large-scale 3D printing facilities and their own problem-solving skills.

With a year’s postponement thanks to Covid, this project has been almost three years in the making. But now it’s recycled fourteen tonnes of plastic to make new mile markers for the marathon. And much of the plastic came from previous London marathons.

Mile Markers - Scaled, 3D printing company who have printed the mile markers for the London Marathon.  
Bob, Dave, Alex and Abdul Amin the mayor.
Swindon business Scaled Ltd, 3D printing company who have printed the mile markers for the London Marathon.
Photo shows Bob, the mayor Abdul Amin, Dave and Alex.

A game changer

The six-figure contract has been a game-changer for the engineers. Recently joining them as CEO is experienced business executive, Alex Marshall.

David Speight, co-founder of Scaled, explains how the project came about:

‘Back in 2019 we took a call from an architectural student about designs for a new mile marker for the London Marathon. The student was part of a team that had entered a competition run by the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust (now known as Blueprint For All) to redesign all the marathon mile markers. This followed the success of a previous competition to design mile marker 18.

‘In previous years, the mile markers used scaffolding with signage attached. But, these students wanted to explore a more eye-catching, yet sustainable design.

‘We took the student team’s concept to see if it was possible and it was! Over time, the concept evolved. And, with the announcement of our student partners as the winning team, we bid for replacing all the mile markers with the new design using recycled plastic.

The journey has been interesting. We’ve learned so much along the way and we’re so proud of how well the markers have turned out. They showcase our engineering  skills and the design of the winning students, especially Chantal Banker and Davina Lyn.’

The process

We make each mile marker from a combination of 3D printed parts and recycled boards constructed into a distinctive hexagonal pattern.

The student team took inspiration from the way in which runners of all abilities and demographics come together in a spirit of unity and togetherness. Much like bees gathering around the hive.

We revealed the markers in the public arena for the first time at the traditional runner’s show. This was on September 28 ahead of the London marathon itself. But South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland and Swindon Mayor Abdul Amin both came along for a sneak preview to see the markers before they got collected for the event.

South Swindon MP Sir Robert Buckland said: ‘It was a thrill to come along and support the team at Scaled and see the new mile markers made out of recycled products. I’m so pleased to support their efforts and their part in such a global international sporting event.’

Swindon Mayor Abdul Amin said: ‘This company is putting Swindon on the map by providing these mile markers for one of the Big Six marathon events in the world. Millions of pairs of eyes will be on this engineering achievement on Sunday.’

About the markers

Each mile marker stands over 3.5m high. They have prominent sponsor branding and some of them also feature the faces of globally known marathon runners. Many of the markers will have clocks on them so runners can keep abreast of their running times.

The design is modular for easy setup and with pieces that fit together to save space during storage. The design of the markers used over 14 tonnesof recycled plastic. The plastic came from beach cleans, industrial waste and signage from previous athletic events. All-in-all a high value use of plastic waste.

CEO of Scaled Alex Marshall said: ‘This has been a brilliant opportunity for us. We’ve taken omething from concept, through engineering design, to manufacturing the end product. We hope now to work with organisers of other large scale events. Festivals, concerts and the like to support them with creating signs and other temporary structures which are far more impactful. And, of greater importance, sustainable.

It’s reassuring to know that when the mile markers reach the end of their useful life, we can recycle them. That feels like a win for the environment.’

For more information about Scaled visit https://scal3d.com

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