There are many ways to get into the Virgin Money London Marathon but they basically come down to these four options: be lucky, raise money, be fast, be very fast. Let’s take these one by one.
You can enter the ballot, which was open between 30th April and 4th May this year, and then hope for the best. There were 386,000 applicants for the ballot in 2018 and the odds just get slimmer every year (see how the entries have increased year on year in this article). There’s no longer the guaranteed entry for runners who’ve been unlucky in the ballot a set number of times. You just wait until you either receive the hallowed ‘congratulations’ magazine in mid-October, or you don’t. Worth a punt!
If you’re a member of a running club then you may also be able to put your hat in the ring if your club receives a place or places. These may be your best odds! If your club has up to 150 members it will be allocated one place. So maybe it has 50 members and only 20 would be interested in running London. A one in 20 chance! If your club has between 151 and 250 members and it will get two, 251 to 350 will get three places and above that it’s capped at four.
Many charities have guaranteed places in the London Marathon (through the Golden Bond, Silver Bond and Charity ballot schemes – see a list of the charities who are part of these schemes), but you will need to commit to raising a certain amount to get one. And it’s usually a lot, around £2000, but if that seems like a tall order it’s because the charity has to pay a significant amount to secure that place. But if you really want to run London and you’re happy to commit to some serious fundraising, then the charity will really appreciate it.
It’s possible to get a ‘Good For Age’ place for London if you have run a marathon under a certain time, depending on your age. For the 2019 race you have to have achieved your time between 1st January 2017 and 10th August 2018. The window for getting your Good For Age entry in was 1st August to 10th August 2018. Runners are then informed on 15th August so it’s a quick process to get your entry confirmed! The times vary from sub 3 for men under 40 and sub 3.45 for women under 40, right up to sub 5.30/6.40 if you’re in your 80s. The full list can be viewed HERE.
Be very fast
You can get a Championship place if you’re a man who’s run a 2.45 marathon (or 1.15 half) or a woman who’s run a 3.15 marathon (or 1.30 half) in the two years before the London you’re applying for. You have to do this by January 9th 2019 for the 2019 race and you have to be a member of an athletics/running club.
For full information about how to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon see HERE.