Has this year really got to you? Are you desperate to take on a new challenge in 2021, or 2022? Have you absolutely demolished Couch to 5k during lockdown and you’re aiming higher? Have you set your sights on running one of the most iconic routes in the world, The London Marathon?
I really can’t blame you. The intensity of training gives you a focus and a purpose that you might be desperately in need of right now, the atmosphere in the build up is tense and thrilling and then on the day it’s honestly one of the most collaborative experiences you could ever hope to have. People cheering you on from the pavement, fellow runners patting you on the back or encouraging you on, vast numbers of volunteers handing out water, St John’s Ambulance staff there to help you with whatever might have happened over the course. It’s without a doubt a team effort, and being part of it is something you never forget.
So, how do you get a place?
The London Marathon is notoriously oversubscribed, so nothing I say here will absolutely guarantee you a spot at the start line but will hopefully give you a helping hand.
Enter The Ballot
Yes, this sounds too easy I hear you say, but you simply must give it a go! You have the option to enter for free, or donate your entry fee (which you don’t get back if you don’t get a spot, sorry!) and then you can hold your nerve until the ballot results come out (under normal circumstances this would mean entering the ballot in May and finding out the results in October, but obviously at present this schedule is a little off kilter).
Good For Age
Are you an un-sung hero of running? Can you blitz your way through a half marathon or marathon in record time? Then you may be able to apply for a Good For Age spot. Be warned, you do have to be a serious runner to qualify for this. To give you an example, for men aged between 18 and 39 years, you need to be running a marathon distance in three hours or less. So if you’re smashing those miles, or perhaps you’re a little older but a committed long-term runner, then it is absolutely worth checking out this option.
Another one for the keen runners out there. Does your running club have access to spaces? Investigate! If you’re determined to run the London Marathon but aren’t yet part of a club then consider signing up, taking training seriously for a couple of years and then seeing if the club can help you get a space.
This one is for those of us who enjoy running, and enjoy a challenge. There are always plenty of charity places for The London Marathon available, you just need to know where to look. The Virgin London Marathon website does tend to list all the charity partners they have, and give you contact details so make sure you check there. From personal experience I would say really, you’re best to run for a charity you do have a connection to. For one, the heart and motivation behind your running is automatically there and boy can it be emotional. Secondly, your friends and family, who you will be asking for donations, will understand your reasoning behind picking the charity and it may prove helpful in asking them to part with their cash. A word of warning, the minimum amount for fundraising is rarely less than £1500, so be prepared to put the effort into getting sponsorship and donations. I know several people who have held additional fundraising events, not just the marathon, in order to reach their goal. Of course, there’s a chance with charity places that you’ll be asked to don a rather attractive costume – so make sure you’re comfortable doing that and have the strength in you to run whilst dressed as a rhino (those guys are always insanely fit!) before agreeing to do something that might be harmful to you!
Good luck! x