How does Ballot Work?

Sorry if this has already been discussed but i am useless with the search engine!

How does the Ballot work for the FLM? I've just sent off my very first application and whilst i'm not expecting to get in any time soon (I reckon i'll be one of those who gets a go after the 5th attempt!) I was wondering how they do pick people? Are all the names put in a database and the computer ramdonly selects them?



  • Its all a bit Charlie and The Chocolate Factory I think. Oompah Loompahs pick them out at random I think.  V secretive !

  • Has my cheque been cashed yet ?
  • I asked this question way back when I was a newbie on the forum, and answer came there none...

    Logistically it seems like a major headache - how to sort the successful envelopes from the unsuccessful, in order to pull out the cheques to cash.

    Either they just put the first 20,000 received into the 'IN' bucket and shred the rest, or there is one hell of a filing system.

    Or maybe, as the data is entered from the envelopes, the computer randomly says 'IN' or 'OUT', and the envelope goes in the appropriate bin!
  • They must process every entry as you will be sent the entry form for next year's race, as well as providing a database of runners to sell to other companies (if you haven't ticked the "no mail" box.
  • It is well known that the ballot is controlled by the Masons.
  • I think one of the Storylines in Spooks this year is about the FLM ballot.
  • Actually thinking about it Dave Bedford is loony enough to have an oompah loompah workforce.

  • I have been entering the ballot for 13 years now and at the end of the day its down to three things

    1/ Predicted finish time

    2/ Number of times rejected in last 5 years  

    3/ Number of times excepted in last 5 years

    It has nothing to do with where you live, your occupation, or what you do for a living as some people have suggested. Up until last years if you were rejected you actually got the whole application back unopened. So they only know 3 things from the outside of the envelope

    My theory is that it has to do with the predicted finish time, I read an article a long time ago by Dave Bedford who stated that it is important to get a constant flow through the finish. Therfore they need to put in so many from each time slot going in quarter hour slots as per the application form. After they have all these then I think it goes down to point 2 and 3. I envisage that all the time categories and laid out in massive 'blocks' and a certain amount are selected from each - after that they maybe selected from points 2 ansd 3 or maybe not I am unsure of that

    Certain about point 1 though - and if you think about it it wiould be chaos if they had 3k finishing between 3:45 - 4:00 and 500 between 4:00 and 4:15 which fesably could happen if the did not take into account peoples finishing time

    However having said that I am sure there are many more people applied stating they will finish in under 3 when they know they will take 5 hours so as carefull as they can be about the constant flow I am sure there is every possibility it will go awry


  • Well everyones going to be checking their bank accounts at the end of the month
  • Oh yes...let the stampede of posts begin

    I am rather hoping the cheques will be presented on the 31st oe maybe even 1st as I am running rather low in the account I wrote the cheque from ! 

  • I'm not even sure they bother sorting by the time you say on the envelope.

    1. How many peoples times are accurate to the prediction made 7 months before

    2. Wouldnt a random selection of entrants provide the same spread of times ?

  • 3.30...I'm also hoping cheques will be presented from the 31st...or it could be 'bouncy bouncy' down at my bank...the horror!!

    Just out of curiosity...say your cheque did erm be declined...would they try and represent it...or laugh hysterically and give your place to someone else...oh the shame!!

  • I have spoken to the FLM people and they cash the cheques on the last couple days in October or the first couple of days in November so you should be okay.

    Yes if your cheque does bounce they reject you

    It would be terrible to get rejected in the cheque bounced

  • Phew...mind saying would be just my luck to actually get in through the ballot & they then ask my bank for the money on the 30th...the day before payday!!

  • Morgs

    I will be checking every morning after next Friday before 9am if a cheque is presented I will be on the blower to the bank to ensure they honour it - if they say they will not I will be onto FLM, to ensure they represent - or to pay on a CC - they must have the means to do this

    You never know one day the might move into this century and do all applications on the web not just the few they done this year. If its a success I can see the rolling this out for 2009.

  • Joy of entering online was not having to pay up-front.  They don't want dosh from us till our places have been confirmed and then we have something like a week to get the money to them.
  • Isnt it easier just to pay some money into the bank 3.30 ?
  • Or have an agreed overdraft facility?

    I have one for those months were there are more days than money. It means your cheque will not bounce and you pay no 'unauthorised borrowing fees' or other charges.

    Just ask your bank, it only needs to be a small amount as a safety net.
  • Already got an overdraft, but i will go over the limit of that !
  • But 3:30, can you envisage a server that can cope with 100,000 people all trying to use it at once?

    Even if only half that number tried on the first day, surely it would fall over.

    Then we'd get threads like "Has your credit card been debited yet?"

    And even in this day and age, not everyone has a computer, and/or is knowledgeable in the ways of the web. I know people who just don't ever use them, and although they could use one in a library or inet cafe, they don't know how.

  • I dont see the problem with the system we have today.

    If it were all online then that would rule out a lot of people who dont have access to the internet 24/7.  The race would go full in a few hours.

  • It'd be like the Moonwalk then cougie.  That's nigh on impossible to get into nowadays.

  • Not if it remains a ballot. What's the rush if you've got 2 months to apply online just like you do via post now?

    Any process that forces people to write cheques should be modernised. Most of europe doesn't even have cheques anymore (and that's been for a couple of years now). Maybe one of the biggest financial centres of the world might join 21st century banking?

  • Moonwalk fills and crashes in the first couple of hours doesnt it ? and the numbers must be considerably less than the anticipated FLM entries

    Moonwalk online entries tomorrow morning - which is great for those people who are at work and cant access  PCs or have internet blocking (or do proper jobs where you are expected to working and not surfing the net !image)  will be interesting to see what happens tommorow !

  • So i'm taking it that they cash the cheques before most people find out if they've actually got a place then? I was told to expect to find out beginning of December.

    I have been looking a charity place options but to be honest i would struggle to raise the minimum sponsorship that some of them require.

  • You can usually tell if you are in by the date your cheque is cashed. Wait till the end of Nov and look out for the inevitable thread on these forums.
  • Come on Welsh old boy I remember you from last year on this forum

    Its the end of this month they cash the cheques. I would say give it until 26/27 and the posts will start

  • Its always struck me as odd that the FLM asks for your predicted finish time, I know it makes sense, as a previous poster suggests it to help regulate the flow of runners for safety reasons.

    The first time I did the London Marathon was in 2000, It was my first Marathon.

    Now I had run plenty of GNRs and so was confident of my half marathon time, but since you apply so soon before finding out if you are in, and possibly for many, before you really start your training, how are you supposed to accurately gage your finish time? even if it is an estimate?

    So how many applications are actually wildly inaccurate? or over enthusiastic, such as saying you can finish in 2:55 when really you know that you arent going to finish under 5 hours...

    As far as I can tell, im in for next years FLM..Yippee.. but I havent got a clue what time I will finish in.
    My times in 2000 and 2005 where 1 hour apart, and even my fastest time was an hour slower than I know im capable of running (3 hours) if they whole day comes together and the training plays out.

    But this year, I was less optimistic so put down the halfway time between my previous two finishes and I got in!.. who knows how the ballot works, but in my case, It seems my 3 application since my last run in 2005 was successfull... and I was more honest in my application!
  • I would say that many people are wildly optimistic about their time. Last year my husband was in the 4-4.30 start pen and spent the first 3 miles battling his way past the "faster " runners! The run would be a lot smoother if people were more honest about their finish time.
  • Without wanting to start a debate on qualifying for the race, I do believe that you should submit a previous race time and that should be used to determine where you start.

    It wouldn't have to be from another marathon, but I think it should at least be from a half.....ran within 12 months prior to applying. They've got all of the tables which state what marathon time you might be capable of if you can do a half in x....I think it would work well but it probably involves too much effort on LMs part to consider it.

    Can anyone inform me of what the pen structure is please? I stuck 3:10 on my application but will be going for at least 3:05 now. I don't think it affects what pen I'd start in....I'm just interested.


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