Rejections and Reflections

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2015 winter training top of rejection arrived in the post a couple of days ago as I continued my long tradition of failing to get a place via the ballot, it will go well with the wind jacket from 2014. It is not something I am bitter about – I understand the probabilities, it is just disappointing as it my nearest race, well the start is anyway.

The odds on getting a place aren’t that clear as the splits between charity places – around 15,000 a year, international tour places, club places, good for age places, transfers from the previous year places, elite places, and sponsors places are not published; it probably only allows around 17,000 places for the 125,000 who apply before the cut off in the ballot.

I have never had a place through the ballot – I have had a charity place a couple of times, a trio of club places, a couple of ‘good for age places’ (those were the days…), one place for 5 consecutive rejections (a system abolished when Virgin took over the sponsorship) and a ‘bequest’ place – whereby you donate your entry to the London Marathon Charitable Trust in return for going into another mini ballot, if successful you get a place, if unsuccessful you get some reasonable quality training wear albeit with a Virgin Money corporate logo. I’m reasonably happy to do this as to money goes to help fund various community sports projects including bringing former private sector sports grounds into public usage, such as one on Shooters Hill Road.

As I don’t want the hassle of raising around £2000/€2500/$3200 (other currencies are available) for a charity and I had a club place last year, so it looks like I will be looking elsewhere if I run a marathon next spring – perhaps an off road one for a change.

As for the running, it’s been a good week; although last week’s unintended 18 mile run was still lurking in my legs, I still managed 13 miles midweek plus some hard hill reps on Monday up the steepest hills Greenwich has to offer, plus an early morning tempo run amidst the chestnut pickers in the Park on Friday – although the highlight of the run was the light on the ‘heath.

Sunday was a real shock to the system … autumn had arrived with the first run in single digit temperatures since the spring, but the clear light of the new season was fantastic as I ran around Greenwich, the Park and over Blackheath.


An October 2016 postscript

As there is a spike in viewing of this post around this time of year, no doubt for the same reasons as I originally wrote it, so I thought that an update might be in order.

The odds have deteriorated significantly since I wrote the original post, the ballot entry is now open for several days, rather than closing when 125,000 reached – 253,930 applied for the around 17,000 ballot places for the 2017 race – giving a 1 in 15 chance of getting a place.

Unsurprisingly, given the odds, I have had two more rejections – I now have a half marathon’s worth of ballot rejections. My family can add to this, in the last three years my children have put in five applications, all unsuccessful.

I have even given up with the ‘bequest’ – I added to my London Marathon branded winter tops last year – but there really is a limit to the numbers needed, so I’ll give the money I have saved this year to charity through a different route.

I had planned to run the inaugural Ashford Marathon in April 2015, but any thoughts of this went by the wayside with a serious accident.  I wasn’t sufficiently recovered in 2016 to think about marathon running but may try and build up fitness for one during 2017.

2018 & 2019 London Marathon Updates

There were a ‘world record’ 386,050  applications for the presumably similar 17,000 ballot places so predictably my application came to nothing – a roughly 1 in 22 chance of a place.  Nothing different is expected from the 2019 ballot which opens on 30 April 2018 which no longer even guarantees Good for Age Places.




6 thoughts on “Rejections and Reflections

  1. WalkToRio

    That picture of the sun is great!
    As for the Marathon, I’ve never entered any of those big races. Back in NYC I refused the NYC Marathon twice, it was always a week before or after one of my official races. Now if I wanted to enter it I’m sure they would reject me.
    Someday I’d like to do the London Marathon, but it’s getting harder and harder to enter those races.
    Have a nice week!

    1. runner500 Post author

      Thanks, the light was fantastic on Friday morning. London is a great experience the crowds are amazing and so encouraging – but it is not the only race so I will just have to choose a different one.

  2. Jim Brennan

    I didn’t know London operated a lottery system like the New York City Marathon. I had similar experience with NYC, at one time the entry rule was (I’m not even sure how it operates today) that you enter a lottery system and if you are not selected three consecutive years they let you in. I wasn’t selected two consecutive years and then went through a series of knee surgeries the following years which put me back at zero again. The kicker is that I didn’t know at the time that I had a qualifying time to run with my half-marathon time. So anyway, I share your pain, it sucks, especially when they tell you if you raise $3,000 they will gladly let you run. Well, no crap! Anyway, I’ve done marathon trail runs the last five years or so and strongly encourage you to try it. They are more scenic, relaxing, and are full of real people. Good luck, my friend.

    1. runner500 Post author

      Thanks; I’ve done trail races of up to around 20 miles and really enjoyed them so I guess that’s what I’ll aim for next spring; right now though the focus is on cross country and I am hoping for a few days heavy race as it isn’t the same without lots of mud. Have a good race at the weekend.


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