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London Marathon registration

April 19, 2010

If you want to run a big city race in the UK, the chances are that you will want to run the Virgin London Marathon. Sunday 25 April 2010 saw around 27,000 runners – including elite athletes, club runners, celebrities and countless charity runners – pounding the historic 26.2 miles around the capital, and broadcast on the BBC. However, since it’s such a popular race (and so well publicised) getting in can be challenging.

Yonas Kifle of Eritrea at the 2009 London Marathon
Image via Wikipedia

In reality, you have four options if you want to get into the next year’s line-up.

1. Public ballot

For this you will need to register online, with registration opening on 4 May. The public ballot will be open until VLM has received something in the region of 150,000 applications (it changes year on year), and last year the ballot closed in record time. Expect the same this year. The ballot is a free for all, although there is a separate ballot for overseas competitors. If you want a head start for the balloting process, you would be well advised to set up a RealBuzz account before the registrations open.

As with more or less every high-volume online application system, the site has a reputation for crashing under the sheer volume of traffic.

Entry by public ballot is by no means assured. In previous years runners could rack up five rejections before being guaranteed entry to the race on the sixth year. However, with the volume of applicants increasing year-on-year, the organisers have decided to phase this out. Full details of this decision and what it means for runners are here.

2. Club places

If you belong to an athletics club that is affiliated with UKA, your club will have a limited number of guaranteed places for the London Marathon. As you might expect, competition for these places will be stiff. The allocation of these places often comes down to the merits of individual runners, so like the public ballot places it’s not guaranteed.

3. Charity golden bond

The London Marathon is a massive opportunity for charities to generate funds, and as such a number of different charities receive golden bond spaces. In exchange for one of these places, you will need to pledge to raise a certain amount of money (often around the £1500 mark, but sometimes higher than that). You can find charities with bond places here, and if you want some ideas for fundraising see my earlier post on my experiences of charity running. Charity bond places are available until relatively late in the day, so perhaps shouldn’t be your first port of call (if you’re planning to run for charity, you can still use a normal ballot place to raise money, giving your chosen charity even more runners at the event).

4. Good for age entries

I was alerted to this by Holly from It’s all about the running. If you are a UK runner and have run a good marathon time in the year prior to the London Marathon, you may be able to bypass the public ballot. I phoned VLM to find out more, since details for 2011 have yet to be announced, and the closing date for good for age applications will be in August (exact date to be confirmed).

The time bands you need to achieve for the different age groups and genders are below:

Men Time (in hours) Women Time (in hours)
Age 18 – 40 2.45 – 3.10 Age 18 – 49 3.15 – 3.50
Age 41 – 59 sub 3.15 Age 50 – 54 sub 4.00
Age 60 – 64 sub 3.30 Age 55 – 59 sub 4.15
Age 65 – 69 sub 4.00 Age 60 – 64 sub 4.30
Age 70+ sub 5.00 Age 65 – 69 sub 5.30
Age 70+ sub 6.30

If you have achieved a qualifying time, you need to send proof of your time (for example, the chip timing result, a race completion certificate, etc.) and proof of your age (a photocopy of your passport or photographic driving licence) to the address below:

Good for age
Virgin London Marathon
PO Box 3460

Full details can be found on the Virgin London Marathon website here

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Julian permalink
    April 21, 2010 11:47 am

    Hi Lewis
    Well done on your excellent time in Paris and for a great blog.
    Look forward to seeing you at the club more and racing in a yellow vest!

  2. Julian permalink
    April 21, 2010 11:48 am

    Oops sent the wrong email address!

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