Red/blue/green starts


 Just wondering if any experienced London Marathon runners can briefly explain how the the red/green/blue starts are allocated?

 The reason I ask is that I sneaked a "good for age" entry this year and, depending on which internet site you read, was expecting this to mean either the blue or green start for me.   However, my registration pack has come through and I was slightly surprised to see I'll be in the red start.

 Just wanted to check they haven't made a mistake and that I don't need to contact the organisers.

 Thanks in advance.   3 weeks to go- hope everyone's training's going well heading into taper time!


  • Blue is for the elite, championship runners and the mass who got entry through the ballot.
    Green was good for age and maybe. But it is where the Z list celebrities will be too.
    Red is for charity runners and good for age.

    They have changed the GFA to red. You should get a good start at the front. However, be
    warned. The first three miles is away from the blue and green and will have less of a
    buzz compared to the blue start.

  • Thanks Runnerman,  appreciate the info.
  • Hi

    am aiming for sub 3.30 and am at blue start - will I be caught up in crowds or will i be able to get off fairly quick.


  • All depends what pen you're in, and you won't know that 'til you get your number. The lower the number the better, but if you're in 4 or lower you should be fine. Above that it may be a bit busy for the first few miles until it spreads out a bit.
  • If you put down 3.30 on your form, then probably pen 2 or 3. The pens are large and will hold
    alot of runners. So give or take, probably two minutes+ to cross the start line.

    I wouldn't worry about crossing the start as the chip on your shoe automatically starts
    when you cross the start line anyway.
  • Blue generally is the club runners, ballot places.
    Also the championship men & women (at the front)
    Red is generally the charity runners / gold bond places

    Green is celebs
    "normal" Good For Age runs off Green as well
    "Fast" Good For Age has its separate start pen at the front of red (this change introduced last year)

    I'm off the red Fast Good for Age. Hopefully that'll mean I'll be near the front! (I've always beenn off the Blue start before, so it will be nice to experience the Red for once)
  • BirchBirch ✭✭✭

    XPS - a few years back the GFA went excusively from RED, and I was on the front line, outside Greenwich Park, looking down the empty road - was a great feeling to be actually at the FRONT of the LM, (until the gun went of course), so make sure you toe the actual start line - it is a great experience !


  • Runnerman why will there be less of a buzz on the red start?
  • No. The red start is slightly better than the blue. The blue start tends to be more congested.
    The red is more relaxed and if you at the front, should have a better start. But those first
    three miles are completely different to the blue. It feels more like a ordinary race.
    When you join the rest at mile 3, then the buzz starts. You will know as the blue and green
    runners tend to boo the red runners joining.
  • Oh I see, didn't mean to sound aloof, just wondered.

    Am quite pleased with the thought that may be easier to get a fast start on red, thought it would be opposite way round. I think I put down for 3.30 when registered initially so any ideas what pen I will be in?

  • Probably pen 2, 1 if you lucky.
  • Hi Guys 

    Is ballot places defiantly Blue start, only saying that as i got in the ballot and my partner has a charity place. does this mean we will be split up

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    It has been for as far as I can remember.
  • When I did it in 2013 there were two Gfa starts.  Either the green start with the celeberaties or a special section at the front of the red start.  Think the cut off for the red start may have been a previous time of 3.10?

  • Gareth, unfortunately you will be apart and unlikely that will change. Even asking London Marathon will still be a no. If you are allocated a ballot place, its a blue start, charity red start. My advice is look at the course map. Mile 3 is normally when both blue and red merge together. The only way you can be together is to keep to one side of the road and choose a meeting point and a certain time to meet. Not easy but if you want to run together, that's your only option. At least you got plenty of time to plan and prepare.

  • Just pop over to the red start and provided you both start at the last pen you should have no problem, I have had a blue start many times and always run from Red as it's more chilled
  • Anyone had experience of the green start the last few years?  I've a charity place but I think I might end up in green as I'm planning to attempt a costume world record (supposedly you end up in green if you do).  But I'm hoping to be doing 2.45ish so certainly don't want to be boxed in at the start. 

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    If you put down 2.45 then you will be in the first pen at the green one.. Just behind the celebrities.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    You'll get a pretty clear start off Green.  You might even shake hands with James Cracknell.  He's got massive hands.

  • Hi I got in on a GFA but am in the blue this correct?
  • DT19DT19 ✭✭✭
    GFA are spread across all 4 starts.
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