London Marathon question

16 messages
02/01/2013 at 13:08

Hi, I do not want this post to become one of those "change the ballot entry system" posts one can easuly find every year right after the rejection letters are sent out.

I am running this year's VLM so my question is purely out of curiosity rather than frustration.

I often read and hear quite a lot of people saying they have done the London marathon several times and never worked out how that is possible.

Can someone confirm there are only 3 ways of entering it? GFA, ballot and charity? If so, what are the splits betwen them? Are the club places part of GFA or is this a 4th method?

So... people who have run London several times (up to 5 consecutive years) are either very lucky, very fast or with very generous friends.

02/01/2013 at 13:20

There are guaranteed places given to affiliated running clubs (not related to GFA), plus certain organisations (police forces, for example) get some places which they can distribute as they see fit.

My OH has done it three or four times, he got in via the ballot each time.


cougie    pirate
02/01/2013 at 13:28

Official race sponsors also get places to allocat to their employees. 

There is also the elite time too - so thats faster than the GFA times.

GFA isn't very fast for most people. 

02/01/2013 at 13:34

Any chance of klnowing the splits for the various ways of entry?

Do you think it's something like this?

Charity places: 45%
Ballot: 35%
Elite + GFA: 10%
Club places: 5%
Sponsors: 5%


02/01/2013 at 13:45

I've done it 7 times and knocked a place back 3 times - BUT it was easier between 1984 and 1998 when I gace up running marathons.

02/01/2013 at 13:51

Just phone them and ask them, anything else is speculation.

02/01/2013 at 13:54

I doubt if they would say, Mr P.  I'd be very surprised if they did.


cougie    pirate
02/01/2013 at 14:23

Theres more secrecy in the London Marathon office than there is at Willy Wonkas chocolate factory.  They don't ever hand out golden tickets. 

It's their race so they dont have any obligation to tell us what they do with the places. 

You could hang around outside the expo and conduct your own survey - that might tell you something if you really have to know. 

02/01/2013 at 15:39

Local authorities that the race goes through their boroughs, police, ambulance also get places to give out so reducing the number of slots further.

02/01/2013 at 19:26
Wilkie wrote (see)

I doubt if they would say, Mr P.  I'd be very surprised if they did.


OK I'm sure you're right but I will jolly well phone them tomorrow, I'm curious now.

02/01/2013 at 19:40

Do come back and tell us what they say - I'd be interested to hear!


02/01/2013 at 21:25

There's also championship entry which is between GFA and elite. Plus you get two years to enter with a qualifying time, so I imagine you could do it twice even if you only manage that time once.

03/01/2013 at 13:39

Right.  I have just spoken to  a very helpful person at London Marathon Office. She wasn't able to give the exact figures but was happy to to paint a broad picture and to have it posted on here without any reservations. I'm not sure I heard right  re 1,000 club places, but assuming it's more than that it cuts down the charity allocation still further.  The person also pointed out that most "celebrity" runners have a charity place rather than a place from the Marathon organisers

Of the expected 36,000 starters:

  • Public Ballot (inc overseas):  21,000
  • Good for Age: 4,000
  • Club/Championship places: 1,000 ( I might have misheard that)
  • Golden/Silver Bond: Remainder

I asked about the number of entrants rather than starters and she said it was pro-rata the same proportion.

I know there will be loads of odd places here to disprove the figures and there but there's the answer straight from the horse's mouth.

03/01/2013 at 13:47

So even if all charity places were turned into ballot places, there still wouldn't be nearly enough places to satisfy the "it's not fair that the greedy charities have all the places" whingers?


08/01/2013 at 15:40

It does paint a picture alright! I always thought the ballot places were second to the charity places but it would appear it's more like 2 to 1 the other way around.

10/01/2013 at 17:19

Ballot and 'charity runners' aren't mutually exclusive either i.e. a lot of ballot runners will also raise money for charity so those you see covered on BBC may well be saying they're running for charity but actually might well have got their place via the ballot. I've worked for a charity for over 15 years so know that a lot of our charity runners will be raising money for us via ballot places they've got rather than the gold bond ones (where they have to raise a lot of money etc..).

I ought to add that I have been in the ballot 5 years in a row and finally got a place for 2013 - I will probably do a justgivng fundraising page for a charity so class myself both as a charity and ballot place runner.

Edited: 10/01/2013 at 17:21

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member
16 messages
Previously bookmarked threads are now visible in "Followed Threads". You can also manage notifications on these threads from the "Forum Settings" section of your profile settings page to prevent being sent an email when a reply is made.
Forum Jump  

RW competitions

RW Forums