And it’s a NO for me

London Marathon rejection magazine 2017

Another year and another rejection in the London Marathon ballot.

VMLM Sorry

Maybe one day, I’ll get a Good For Age place. That would take a lot of training as I would need to be able to maintain a pace of 5:19/km.

London Marathon rejection magazine 2017

I really enjoyed running Southampton Marathon earlier this year, but think I’m more likely to aim for Southampton Half in April. At the Long Course Weekend in July, I’ll be running a marathon.

How should places in the London Marathon be allocated?

I’ve read a lot of discussions online about the allocation of London Marathon places. Some people believe it’s fair as Good For Age places exist and that ‘anyone can train to get a Good For Age place’. (I’m not sure I agree that anyone can achieve the standards). Others feel that it should go back to the old system where after a number of rejections, you automatically get a place. Others believe that you should have completed a half marathon before being allowed to apply for a place.

Another alternative would be to have a system like NYRR run for the New York Marathon. Anyone who volunteers at a set number of events (I think it’s 10 NYRR races) can get a place in New York Marathon. Of course, that scheme is much more achievable for someone who lives in the area. Another suggestion that I’ve heard is to delay the ballot until longer after the race so that only the dedicated remember to enter.

Is the London Marathon still a race for the masses?

I think that it’s great that the television coverage of the London Marathon inspires so many people to take up running. It’s brilliant that it raises so much money for charity. However, in many ways, it has become a spectacle, rather than being a race. There are so many people wearing fancy dress or trying to set crazy records.

I know some people will disagree with me, but I do think it would be helpful to require people who apply for the ballot to have run a half marathon within the previous 24 months. Yes, this would be a barrier to participation. If someone is desperate enough to get a place then it’s a hoop they can easily jump through.

I also think that if someone has been allocated a place through the ballot then they should not be able to enter the ballot for the next 2 years (or possibly longer). I know the ballot is down to chance, but when there are so many people who would really like to get a place, this would give people more of an opportunity. It also seems fairer than the date restrictions of entering the ballot that existed in the past.

Do you think the allocation of places is fair? If not, what solution would you propose?

My colleague, Sarah, was lucky enough to get a place in the ballot and has decided to chronicle her training in a new blog: Marathon? WTF? (Where’s the finish line?) Please do visit, have a read and consider sponsoring her 🙂


Thank you to everyone who’s voted for Fat Girl to Ironman so far. There’s still time to cast your vote in The 2018 Running Awards.

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2 Responses

  1. Hi Tamsyn and thanks so much for the mention! Personally I think there are ways that the ballot system could be improved for it to be fairer. I agree it’s great that the tv coverage inspires people (I blame Nick Knowles for the challenge that I now face!) but this is the first time that I have applied. Whilst I’m very pleased, and still overawed at what’s ahead of me, I think that runners who give up their time to marshal other events (for the benefit of everyone else) and who have a clear commitment by applying year on year, should go into a separate pool of places and get a fairer shot at taking part. I can see your point about having run a half marathon (at least a realistic expectation around an endurance event) but maybe not within 2 years. As a mum to 2 little ones, I have done a half marathon but not everyone might find the time to train and do that based on life events. Looking forward to training with you, but gutted that we won’t be doing this together…

    • I have to say that I’ve loved taking part in Southampton Half/Marathon for the last three years, but I’ve really missed sitting at home with a cuppa watching London Marathon.

      Maybe you’ll get the bug and enter the ballot again, so that one day we end up running it together 🙂

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