Hi there,

Im running this year's VLM and have been sent my race number. I am around the 52,000 mark which means I am starting at the red point with charity and ballot runners. I am hoping to do it in roughly 3h-3.15 and I am running on behalf of a university club (oxford) but I the crowd are numbes 33,101- 54,250.Does this mean I am going to be right at the back??



  • You don't line up in number order (can you imagine trying to get 20,000 people to do THAT?)

    You will be allocated a pen number based on your predicted time (as given on your entry form). You'll see what that is when you pick up your number.

    The faster ones go nearer the front.

  • No, wait till you get uour pen number at the expo

  • On each running number you pick up at the expo is a pen number which indicates which pen you need to go stand in prior to the start. These are based on the estimated finishing time you gave when you applied for a place. If you can't remember the time they'll probably tell you it at the expo.

    If you know you've improved and can prove it with a recent half marathon time print out, they may allow you to move forward to a pen closer to the start. 

    That way people are grouped by pace.

    As for the red start, that is mainly just people who got in via the charity places. As far as I'm aware the blue start is ballot people.

  • Is this a wind up? Line up in order!
  • its not a wind-up...sorry its my first marathon so wasnt sure how these things worked..had visions of myself spending the first 10 miles trying to jostle past the walkers!! I think I put down 3.15 on my form. Also does anyone know how the runners world pacers can be found??
  • can you imagine it....."32412 please stand in front of  32413. We can't start untill you do and 32417 get back people are waiting for you"..............
  • The RW pacers are easy to apot they have signs on a pole above their heads and about 1000 people all standing as close as they can to them from the moment they arrive
  • Wow 3:15. Great time and will secure you a GFA for next year I think. Good Luck.

     Whats your best 1/2 marathon time out of interest?

  • The actual race numbers are allocated at random, so that there isn't bunching at the luggage lorries at the finish.

    As others have said, you will be allocated a pen, based on your predicted time.
    If you put down 3:15 then likely you'll be Pen 3
    3:00 to 3:14:59 is pen 2
    sub 3 is pen 1

  • Thanks for advice-definitely has cleared things up!! sorry for being so gormless..realise what a ridiculous question that was but thought they bunched people up with numbers to the nearest thousand!! ANDY- my HM PB is 1hr 27 but that was on a running machine..ah so nervous!!

  • It all depends on the expected time you gave when you entered the race. From this they will allocate a pen number that is printed in the top corner of your race number. No 1 is fastest. It is normally o.k. to go back a pen but frowned upon to go forward.

    Your actual race number is not relevent to your expected time so as long as you got your finish time correct at entry you will be fine.

    All the best for the day -getting close now!

  • Wow, i hate running on a treadmill. 15 minutes and I am done.

    Don't go out too hard aiming for 3:15. You might kill yourself. Try and do a negative split, whats the furthest you have run?

  • I see your half mara was done on a tready image

    I take it you have done long runs outside, too? 

  • Not to depress anyone. But 13 miles on a treadmill is nothing like that on the road.
    I hope you included hills and air conditioning in your 1/2 mar treadmill run.
  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Another not-so ridiculous question made out to appear ridiculous.  if the pens run 1 - 9 (or whatever) there's no reason why they can't also correspond to a numbering system, e.g. 25,000 - 29,999; 30,000 - 34,999, etc.  (Except they don't but now you know...)

    Anyway, good luck!

  • Someone at the gym ask me are the pens at the start like the ones in a horse race. What!!!!!!!! image
  • MACbMACb ✭✭✭
    i've got a HM best of 1h28mins, but I'd never match that on a treadmill. So some people think that it is faster on the treadmill, I on the other hand think it is tougher and slower.
  • A friend of mine did his first race (a popular local 10k) a couple of years ago, and wasn't sure where he should be at the start.  He asked someone there for advice, and they pointed out the signs saying "over 40", etc., so he went and found the one at the back that said "over 50", because he thought they referred to age.

  • I agree PhilPub, there's quite a lot of elitist guffawing in general on these forums aimed at people asking legitimate questions.

    As a first time marathoner I would also logically assume that the main numbering system could be used to allocate people to the right pen therefore being numbered 52k in a 34-54k group it's not thick to assume you could be in the pen at the back of the pack...

    Good luck Florence! 3h-3h15 is a great time to aim for for a first marathon!

  • Do you really think the responses on here have been "elitist guffawing"?

    I thought they were gentle ribbing. 

    And my question about the long runs outside is quite genuine - it's very different to running on a tready in my experience.

  • probably not quite, but certainly on the way. 

    The style of the "is this a wind up? can you imagine lining everyone up in order?" responses is clearly hinting that the question is a stupid one (you can tell this by the fact she apologised twice and called herself gormless) when she was asking a perfectly reasonable and rational question that people have interpreted in an irrational way in order to take the p!ss.

    maybe I'm reading the tone of posts wrongly (its extremely hard to detect in written form) it's just a common denominator I've seen in a few threads is the 'let's laugh at how thick some of the questions are' when in fact you probably all asked exactly the same questions the first time around..

  • Agree, it wasn't a stupid question.  The picture of people being asked to line up by number was funny though.  In reality they'd do it by pens too I'm sure.

  • A bit of gentle teasing never actually hurt anyone - isn't it a part of life?  I certainly get teased about stuff, on the forum and the rest of life.

    Do we have to be so thin-skinned?

    The fact is that pretty much any question someone asks has been asked before on the forum, and it gets a bit dull for the jaded old-timers. 

  • A lot of first timers will experience this when they arrive at the expo, the start and the
    race. Sorry course (I think race sounds elitist.) Its all part of the learning.

    When I did my first London Marathon, I had to learn it the hard way. Internet forums asking
    questions weren't around in 1994. So I had to learn. I read the magazine. Went to the expo.
    Went to the start and ran it. I wasn't sure about the course as I never run it before.
    So for any first timer, you can ask questions and you will get answers whether its serious
    or funny. But you will know about the whole thing when you arrive and I hope those first
    timers enjoy the experience.
  • If you are so thick skinned what do u care about my calling the comments by yourself and your compatriots 'elitist guffawing'? you chose to challenge it in exactly the same way as I chose to challenge the initial comments.

    Of course the comments were not at all vindictive in intent and I'm sure Florence won't be crying herself to sleep over them, I was just making an observation about the 'oh look how ignorant' brigade were picking up on a question which wasn't at all stupid.

  • Blimey - running a half on a treadmill. Doesnt sound appealing to me - but 1.28 is a good time inside. I would think you can run faster outside - the aircon at my gum isnt anywhere enough to cool me down when I'm running hard.  If it was that cool then everyone would whinge.
  • I can definitely run faster outdoors than on a treadmill, but then I find treadmill running so acutely boring that I find myself playing the 'how steep can I make it before I actually fall off ' game.

     Outdoors running is the way to go, with the right clothes snow/sleet/rain is all a joy...ok well not a joy but still better than the alternative

  • MACbMACb ✭✭✭
    I am faster outdoors, I like the natural cooling and undulations, plus it is how running is meant to be for me, experiencing nature and not sweating whilst watching Coronation Street!
  • No one seems to start in the right pen anyway, they always ask runners in fancy dress to go to the back of pen 9, but not all do, and then there will be the friends that have been seperated and still want to run together.
  • Not sure, but I think you have to show your number to the official for each pen. It never
    works anyway. Now if they adopted the GNR where you are given a coloured number.
    It works for the GNR and surprised LM haven't followed this. Would make it easier.

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