2010 VLM you must register at Excel??

Evening all - i have just been looking at the Virgin London Marathon website.  Successful applicants through the ballot are sent a form in March 2010 - and you have to attend the virgin marathon 2010 Expo at the Excel Centre on one of the 4 days leading up to race day - to register for the race - show them ID sign forms and collect race bag/race number/Chip timer. 

Are they serious?  - i do the North Run every year and they post it all out to you as they do with just about any event.  I have been unsucessful in the FLM ballot in 2005,2006,2007 - missed the boat in 2008 as i was tired with a new born sprog and forgot that it switched to online ballot and have applied in the 2009 ballot for the 2010 race. 

If i do get in - then do i pay in October when i find out (i didn't bequeath my entry fee), wait for a form in March and attend some crappy expo in April ?

It reminds me of a run london event at night where everyone wore the luminous running tops at London bridge.  30,000 race entrants had to troop down to poxy Nxkx Town to pick up our race numbers and chip - and then they try and sell you running shoes for 100 quid. 

 I spose i could call their helpline but i think it'll be "Computer says don't know" - i don't even know why we have to wait 5 months for the ballot result - surely its all automated on a computer now and takes a matter of days to get a result.  I really hope i get in and will have to do all this nonsense.  How has it worked in previous years? any useful info out there about this ?




  • I obviously don't know exactly how they'll run it - but from the info you quoted it seems very much like it's been for years with Flora.  Not quite sure why they do it - maybe they're worried about post getting lost/stolen, or being more cynical maybe they want to get lots of people to the expo.
  • They're also quite precious about enforcing the "no transfers" thing.

    TBH, though, having already had one race number go astray in the post (and I haven't entered that many in the grand scheme of things), I trust myself far more than the Royal Mail, thanks.

  • If you have entered the ballot in previous years then you ought to be fully aware that Registration has been at Excel for Years, It works for them and most runners, You can always get someone else to do the registration for you if you want but they will need your photo id.

    As your and arsenal fan I assume your London based and therefore dont have the travel issues that out of town runners have.

  • How is this different to the previous years?  It's the way it's always been?
  • Yeah its the way its always been ?

    It stops people flogging their entries on Ebay/whatever.

    Funds the LM charity as the exhibitors pay for their pitches.

    Good place to look round and try new kit on.

    All adds to the atmosphere.

    If you're local - then you can pick up the race entry in the week.
    If you're travelling from further afield (as I do) then you'd be in town the next day - so register then.

    Its not a problem - just go with the flow Mr Grumpy ! image
  • I agree with Cougie - it's part of the build up.

    They ARE quite fastidious at checking you are who you say you are, so we hopefully won't have any blokes turning up claiming to be called Suzy / Sharon / Wendy and you don't have to go any further than the booking in desk if you don't want to. Many people simply turn around and walk out. If you do decide to go in, I've picked up some bargains at the FLM expo and I've had free gait analysis! The kids enjoyed it, we watched the fashion show and got some advice from a Q & A with John Brewer and it was EXCITING to be with all the runners.

     It wasn't even me running (it was Mr LB)image but I enter every year and when they say yes, I would make this my Saturday stoll even if they didn't insist I troop out to Docklands. It beats having to do Hamleys all day with the kids......image

  • old4speedold4speed ✭✭✭
    To be honest if you are going to get that annoyed about picking up your number you will probably hate the event anyway.  You have to take the London Marathon [FLM or VLM] for what it is, a large crowded race with an atmosphere second to none.  I have to travel over 100 miles to get the number and can't do it on Saturday, but I regard the number pick-up as part of the event and like others on this thread have got some amazing bargains over the years.  I usually end up collecting one other number - over the years it has been for my husband / GP etc.  I usually manage to wangle a business meeting in London the week before the run and collect the number then - smart business suit for meeting and pair of trainers tucked in the briefcase..................
  • As already stated, this has been the system for years. And similar to other large marathons (Paris expo is 4 days before to collect  your number with your passport) Having to wait until October is a mystery...only the boffins at LM know the answer to that one.
  • i lived in new zealand for a few years and none of the races i entered (big or small) sent out the race numbers/chips etc.  you always had to pick them up in the days leading up to the event.....
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    I don't hang around at the expo, but it is part of the event and the atmosphere is petty good.  If you really hate it, you can be in & out in 15 minutes. 

    And it's a no-brainer on the costs of sending out 30,000 numbers chips and rucksacks in the post.

  • It's been done this way for years and years. 

    It's the same for all races in France - you always have to collect your number.

    They probably do it for a couple of reasons - exhibitors at the expo pay for their pitches, they are going to expect something in return, ie. a stream of potential customers. 

    It also saves a load of money on posting out the numbers, and the hassle of dealing with the ones that go missing in the post.

  • What does pee me off slightly is that they expect you to run 26.2 miles on the Sunday.

    20 miles would be much better and it just has a better ring to it.

    Damn them !
  • i would have preferred a 17.5 mile marathon!!  i lost the plot a bit after that image
  • Me too Pud! Actually I would prefer them to be able to sort out a pill I could take at 17 miles that wakes me up at mile 20 - I was fine after that! image

    My postman has failed to put my post through the correct door THREE times this week. I think he has an attitude problem (or can't read) but you do have to wonder how many of these chips could get lost /stolen if they didn't hand them over personally?

  • The JimbobThe Jimbob ✭✭✭

    thankyou all for your kind and varied comments - a couple a little too hostile and judgemental for my liking but i suppose it's easy to misinterept the tone of a passage from an email - it sounded different in my mind.  If it is the way its done then sobeit -

    on some of the points - i do the GNR every year for years which is 50,000 ono runners and all the race packs are posted out as with a lot of events- i assume they lob the postage cost into the entry fee eh? GNR is also an event that is has an incredible atmosphere with a shed loads of fun runners/club runners/pros etc and 80,000 spectators/many stages and fun things along the way - so i think i do have an expectation of how good London is (hence trying to get into it for the past 5 years)

     what i don't have any clue about is attempting that distance as every time i finish a half i think how the fudge can people run it again ? but we'll see - maybe i'll fail again in the ballot and the Marathon will be safe from Mr Angry for another year!    image

  • yeah that was my thought the first time I finished a half mara!  Your body acclimatises.

    Isn't the GNR about £15 more than F/VLM?  Maybe some of that goes towards posting stuff out and lost revenue from the expo.  Also GNR isn't in such a prestigious location - and I magine the road closure costs are far more than for the GNR - for starters it's twice as long, but from watching on TV the GNR is mainly residential roads which London isn't for large parts of the route.  I've also heard that London is way less crowded

  • The JimbobThe Jimbob ✭✭✭

    yeah true say and good point - the great north run is 40odd quid this year - keeps going up by a few quid each year - but i suppose they need to cover the cost of the solid platinum medal.  Also fair point - i know the Cutty Sark and St Pauls and the rest of london is breathtaking architecture to run past - but there is something prettty wow about hacking through the industrial istate and on down the dual carriagemay for a couple of miles to South Shields - visually it does't compare i am sure.   

    i did what i called the "cheaters marathon" the britsh 10k london run a couple of times.  It takes you past loads of London sites and is kind of exciting. 

    But i am sure when you hit the Mall on 26 milos you feel well 'ard and when you cross the line you just want an ambulance to take you home to your mummy. 

     I have to do it - and New York as well!!

    also doing that runtothebeat as well this year - heard it wasn't that great last year but it is bound to improve - damn - thats another trip to Docklands!

  • I've done the GNR and the atmosphere is good - but LM knocks it into a cocked hat ! Good luck in the ballot - it really is worth persevering for.
  • I love the LM and the GNR. Both have fantastic atmospheres. Wouldnt say one is better than the other. The crowds at both are fantastic. But there is no Runners World Supporters Group at the GNR!!! And no RW pace makers either. Any volunteersimage
  •  Ive done both and there is no comparrison for me.

    LM is far superior to GNR.

    20k too many in the GNR imho

  • The JimbobThe Jimbob ✭✭✭
    they had one of those pace maker dudes at Reading the other week and i did a PB! knocked 5 minutes of my best ever.  i wasn't even trying but i suddenly noticed him nearby with about 5 miles to go so i kept up with him - although i was a tad sore for it.
  • relaxed! wrote (see)
     But there is no Runners World Supporters Group at the GNR!!! And no RW pace makers either. Any volunteersimage

    We should have a RW supporter's group for GNR.......image

    I suspect that RW don't pace it because to try to do so is bloody impossible. Packed in like sardines at the beginning, I'd like to see the pacers get into a correct rhythm when they can't even move their arms...

  • If we are lucky enough to get a place, we will need to travel from Scotland to register and then travel again to race four days later !!!
  • The Expo is open from the sunday through to sat night, guessing your not travelling down on the sunday just for the race, you can go sat afternoon, having worked at the expo five years ago, the busiest days are the thurs when it opens and in the last few hours before it closes.

    Hope this helps

  • I did not know that....I will register on Saturday and run on Sunday...thanks for your help.
  • I've always enjoyed the Expo, you get a load of traders selling things cheaply and it does make the whole London marathon experience complete i think
  • The expo is alright - its getting to the blooming thing that does my head in - The tubes are just rammed - Why they coudn't have it in the city I'll never know.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭

    As has been said , its been done that way for years (did my first London in 1994 and had to go to the expo then, albeit at Earls Court..), and similarly you can be in and out in 10 minutes.
    Have to confess I think the expo isn't as good as it once was also there are a lot less freebies (used to be lots of free samples in the past).
    Have done the GNR once - back in 1999, and found it a logistical nightmare in terms of baggage storage and collection, no streaming at the start (I understand this has since changed), chaos at the finish (sporadic shuttle buses) and possibly one of the most uninspiring courses I've come across. Don't get me wrong, London has its dull moments, but the GNR failed to inspire me. That said , I will go back and do it again, every bad race needs a second chance.

    Numbers can be picked up by proxy, assuming a letter of approval and ID is provided. I work in London and have picked numbers up on behalf of many people before over the years.


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