Where all the places go

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20/11/2002 at 22:36
There have been lots of comments in previous threads about how are FLM places allocated, and what are the chances of getting in?

The following sheds some light. I found it in a charmingly entitled article 'Morbidity and Mortality in the London Marathon' (no, honest) by Dr Dan Tunstall Pedoe, published in 'Marathon Medicine - symposium at the Royal Society of Medicine 13-15 April 2000'.

The breakdown for 2000 places was: Elite entries, athletic club places, and certain other organisations (eg Police) - 3,000 places.
Charity Golden Bond places - 12,000 entries
The open lottery - 14,000 places (from 65,000 applicants)
Foreign entries, travel tour operators entries etc - the rest.

I assume bequeathed places fit into the 14,000 lottery places. How 'ill and injured' places carried over fit in isn't clear. Also, since 2000, the 'good for age' standard has been relaxed to allow more people automatic entry.

On the other hand, I know people who put in more than one application through the ballot. It doesn't discuss whether there is any selection based on predicted time, club membership etc.
cougie    pirate
20/11/2002 at 22:53
I guess ill and injured sort themselves out - roughly the same amount of people each year would fall ill, and therefore qualify for the next year ?
20/11/2002 at 23:02
If the figures given are offers of places (rather than actually took part) then there seem to be an awful lot of overseas places. For the 32000 odd who run it, there's about 8-10,000 more(?) who get places but don't run, so 40,000 offers of places were originally made. On that basis over 10,000 go overseas.

If that's the case it seems a bit off to me - Brits have to take the luck of the draw with ballot places or promise to raise £1000 plus, whereas overseas folk can guarantee a place if they're quick enough by paying extra. Bearing in mind there's probably less people from overseas who want places, it might not even have to be a huge rush.

I could of course be comletely misunderstanding it.

The "good for age" might change the balance a bit, but then again, since sub 3:15 used to be a fairly quiet period in terms of bodies passing, these may actually be pretty much extra places "for free" - possibly even freeing up places for slower runners that would previously have been taken up by faster ones in the ballot.

I've herad of people who put in more than one entry - if both come off they can always hold one over until next year on the ill or injured rule.

On the above figures - about a 1 in 4 and a half chance of getting in :o(
21/11/2002 at 13:52

The article says 25% of place holders withdraw ill or injured. Now, assuming they all re-apply and are given automatic entry the next year, then out of 40,000 place offers, only 32,000 ish can be 'new' offers (some of the ill or injured can't re-apply as they are already carrying over a place).

Assuming the numbers above do not include ill or injured, then with 32,000 places, only around 3,000 are for overseas entries.

No idea if this is how the numbers really work out, but this seems more likely, the overseas desk never seems that busy at registration.

Just thinking. 12,000 Golden Bond places at £250 a time to the FLM is £3million pa. Say around a third of entrants bequeath their fees. That's about another £500,000. That's a lot of charity income each year for the FLM.

FLM donations to charity since 1981 - £10.8 million.
Iron SwissBobby    pirate
21/11/2002 at 16:46
Excuse me,

as an overseas entrant, we have to pay £65 to go through the overseas lottery. This does not even entitle us to a free magazine or entry form for the next year if we are successful. We have to pay to have the magazine "Marathon News" sent to us before we even enter.

Either that we have to pay a lot of money to London Marathon for the package of hotel, race etc. prices for 2003 are CHF 1,300. That is over £500!!!!
21/11/2002 at 22:09
The whole thing's a disgusting mess.

It needs a public enquiry.
21/11/2002 at 22:21
One of the answers to the present unhappy mess is for all runners simply to stop running for charities on the back of places that have been sold off by FLM to the charities, and to reclaim our event for the runners.

If we do so, 12,500 places that should be allotted to runners in the first place will come back to us (unless the FLM people can find someone else to flog them off to and make money for themselves in some other way from the sale of those places).

The present arrangements for Marathon places disgust me. I may be alone on this, but they disgust me.
22/11/2002 at 11:00
Amazingly, both myself and my partner have got into the FLM this year via the ballot system. In the past I've failed to get in via this method, but have always been reluctant to raise such large sums of money to get a Golden Bond place. I know my friends and colleagues are generous, but some of the sums required to be raised seem ridiculous, even if it is for good cause. Having run the FLM twice already I would say it is an well organised and an emotionally moving marathon, and the crowd support is second to none, but it seems a shame that so many runners are unable to get in each year. But looking at skip's comments, that FLM donations to charity since 1981 total £10.8M, and yet each year they raise at least £3.5M, then what happens to the remaining £62.7M ? I know the entrance/golden bond sums have probably increased over the years, but this is still a large sum of dosh for organisation and appearance fees. Especially, because so much of the organisation is done voluntarily.
22/11/2002 at 20:06
Pebbles - It is an unfair comparison I made above. The Golden Bonds have only been developed in recent years, and anyway, the charities should still pay towards the cost of putting on the event.

But even so, I wonder about the charity angle sometimes. The bequests contribute to the FLM surplus which is donated to charity. But that is after all expenses, which could just mean that it goes into the pot for appearence fees for elite athletes.
23/11/2002 at 07:39
Hi Swiss Bobby,

Sorry for being thick. Do you mean that for £500.00 overseas people who don't go through the overseas lottery (or don't get a place that way) can get a place in the run, and a place in a hotel?
23/11/2002 at 18:07
Anybody in Gloucester in the F.L.M.
24/11/2002 at 11:39
Anyone know if many of the places allocated to the charities end up unused?

I recently ran NY, getting a lottery place, but decided to raise money for "Get Kids Going" anyway.

However, it's a bit much for me to go back to all my friends/workmates, now and ask them to give me more money to run another one.
24/11/2002 at 22:19
I agree with Oracle. Stop running for the Golden Bond merchants and lets reclaim our event, as a RUNNING event not one mass fund raiser

OK i know a lot of people will winge 'but it raises money for charity' which is all well and good but whats the obsession with running and charity ? When people ask me what charity I am runnig for at London and I reply I am not they look at me like I am doing something wrong. When golfers go off to play their sport do they feel obliged to get sponsors ?

If people who sponsor people runnig London want to give to charity why dont they just do it ? why wait until London marathon time? Can you imagine the question if a worthwile charity run short of funds and ceased to exist and asked why no one had donated to it people would say "but I dint donate because no one run a marathon for me to sponsor them"

I am not being flipant here its just that there are so many people who train hard all year round for this and it must be frustrating to lose a place to someone who will just basically walk round
24/11/2002 at 22:30
Not all gold bonders walk, some train just as hard....
This is a discussion that is not possible to agree upon. Good luck to all who enter the ballot and those who start on the day.
24/11/2002 at 22:31

yes, you've missed the Forest Frolic, but I'm in serious training, wanna arrange some runs?
24/11/2002 at 22:44

Yes, the present set-up is somewhat upside down.
1. The charities are forced to buy places from FLM at (as I understand it) £250 a place.
2. Many of the would-be runners are then forced to seek out and find the places the charities have got hold of, if they want to run, which means committing to raising maybe in the region of a couple of thousand pounds to get the place from the charity.
3. The friends/relatives/colleagues of the runners are then cornered and, in reality, pressed (forced) into sponsoring the runner where, given their relationship to the runner, it's difficult for them to refuse to sign the form whether they really want to sponsor the runner or not. Those friends/relatives/colleagues have probably already been taxed at an effective rate in the region of 50% on their earnings (e.g. income tax, VAT, stamp duty, council tax, CGT, IHT, departure tax, congestion charges, etc etc) to provide what our welfare state has already decided are the true needs of the nation, and it is often unfair to ask them to give more under the label of charity from a position where it is difficult to refuse. If a relative or friend asks you to sponsor them, it is difficult to refuse whether you really want to do so or not.

I haven't said that people shouldn't give to charity or shouldn't run for a charity. That is obviously entirely their choice. I have suggested that the running places should simply go to runners, not be sold to to charities (because it is a running event and because it is inappropriate and (in my view) an upside-down way of dealing with the event to force people to run for charity if they wish to be able participate at all in the main running event in the capital city of this country) and that the decision would then become one for the runner, FREELY entered into, whether s/he wishes to use his/her place to raise money for a charity or does not wish to do so. The element of compulsion to run for a charity would thereby be removed.

This debate has already been mainly exhausted elsewhere. As some people have said, it's up to FLM how the thing is set up and they can suit themselves while the thing works effectively as it is presently set up. As Barkles says, it is not possible to reach an agreement on this issue.

25/11/2002 at 08:55

Sure agree entirely

But one point. How many people running on a gold bond place do so because they genuinely want to raise funds for a charity and how many only to it because its the only way in ?
25/11/2002 at 12:07
Last year I gained a place in the ballot and then ran for the charity my colleagues were running for to help them reach their target. This year I have applied for a Gold Bond place, sadly our fundraising team is denuded so I won't get much cross subsidy this year. Frankly I would like to run for the pleasure of it and not have the burden of raising sponsorship. On the other runs I do I pay my entry and get on with it, I'd rather Runner fatigue than donor fatigue anyday.
25/11/2002 at 19:30
So... let me just check...

There are three ascending options to get in???
1. Get in on the ballot.
2. Get in via tour operator.. .pay for flight and hotel etc. £500
3. Get in via charity... raise £1600?

If that's true, then I'd definitely pay the £500, rather than commit to raising £1600. Can anyone verify this?? Ironwolf?
25/11/2002 at 20:00
If you're one of these pure runner types, who want to run for the sake of running and not for the mass participation side of FLM, then you can go and enter another marathon. There are plenty held all around the country. There are also faster courses elsewhere! FLM is for the masses. If you want to be sure of getting in, run for charity. I ran for Phab last year, having to raise at least £850. I raised £600, and paid £250 out of my pocket. A colleague raised over £3,000 for the same charity. The lottery is the only way to cope with the rest. 70,000+ into 32,000 just doesn't go. If I don't get in this year, (I'm doing the lottery this year as I'm suffering from collector-fatigue) I'll just go and sign up for another marathon elsewhere. (Bungay Black Dog, Shakespeare, Sheffield are all within a fortnight of the FLM). Oracle, you are clearly a speed demon, but us trundlers own the race now, and you can't have it back!

Big Bopper.
B.O.P. till I drop.
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