Why do the London Marathon organisers discriminate against middle aged runners?



  • Millsy, it's not actually a business - after operating costs any money is distributed to various charities, community projects, etc.

    There has been criticism of how this is done, but the London Marathon is not in business to make a profit.

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    Sorry for assuming it was a "business". Even if they are a charity they would still want to get as much money in as possible so they can distribute this to their good causes etc.
  • It is a business which is organised on a not-for-profit basis. Rather than maximising profit, the aim is to maximise their surplus. It amounts to pretty much the same thing. 'Business' is not a dirty word restricted to money grabbing capitalists!

  • Yep London Marathon is a business. Its a charity and its duty is to maximise its contributions. 

  • No - but I took Millsy's thinking to be that LM was making money to line the pockets of the directors and/or shareholders, etc.

    I don't understand why they charge such a small individual entry fee (compared to other big city marathons).  They could certainly increase the surplus by putting that up a bit - people would still scramble to pay it.



  • sssssh !!!

  • MillsyMillsy ✭✭✭
    My thinking was not about people lining their pockets. Just the fact that any Organisation whether it for pure profit or charity will try its best to maximise any revenue as best they can.
  • You'd be surprised how many disgruntled people complain about "greedy" charities, filling their pockets with the hard-earned cash of the humble marathon runner.


  • I munged the figures from last year's Abingdon marathon (up to mv50 & fv55) and percentage wise more women do get GFA times - e.g. 26% of male seniors vs 32 % of F seniors, 32% of mv40s vs 30-51% of fv35 & fv45s (it is a bit confused because the lines are drawn in different places to the gfa lines). 20% of mv50 vs 55% of fv55...

    But numbers wise there are more than twice as many male seniors, about twice as many male middleaged runners, and almost five times as many mv50 as fv55 - when it comes to numbers who have made the grade.

    Would be interesting to hear from the London organizers what their goals are with GFA...

  • I agree with Wilkie.

    The entry fee should be £50

    It's not even £2 per mile.

    I'd save my entry fee each year on the discounted trainers at the expo. The bit that really stung was the bill at the Premier Inn for 2 nights, and food for a family for a weekend.

  • I've been presuming that the point of the GFA places was to avoid a huge gap between the elite runners and the rest of the runners - and to have both male and female runners in that section. I'm not complaining - I got a place!

  • I think the GFA places are to allow people who are willing to work hard get a place ahead of the ballot.

    As DB above says, they also provide a steady stream of runners between the elite and championship runners and the costume-wearers and untrained walkers at the back.

  • I agree with Wilkie!   I think they could easily double the entry fee without any fuss.  Although I don't think that it will necessarily follow that they will reduce what they charge charities by the same amount.  They could leave the charity fee the same and have more funds for their own foundation.   It'll certainly be wasteful to have a big gap between elite and fancy dress runners.

    Perhaps the GFA entry could be priced higher as a premium for it being guaranteed and secure, rather than a lottery...

    I also like the idea of the age grading, perhaps at 65% (so as not to exclude me!) but I think that this would be less workable from an administration perspective.

    Does anyone know how much the international runners get charged to run the VLM?  For Italian races (for example), they charge more for non-Italians that locals. 

  • MtRMtR ✭✭✭
    It's also about the road capacity I think. This year I jogged round in 4:09 and was surprised how much more crowded it was at that pace, especially along Narrow Street and round Docklands. Every other year I've been in the 2:50-3:10 range and had a totally different experience.

    Extending the range for vets to 3:30 would massively increase the numbers Isuspect.

    One more GFA place left next year - better train to make sure I claim 2 more year's eligibility.

    Of course the real scandal was relaxing the standard for youngsters to 3:10. Sub-3 should always be the goal!
  • Anyone know the numbers? How many on GFA? Ballot? Clubs? Charity?

    Are ballot numbers shrinking?
  • London is a bargain compared with the other majors - I paid £190 for NYC (7 years ago) £110 for Chicago last year & £125 for Boston this year (I think Berlin was about £70 ?) 

    London is still half the price of Brighton !!!

    Charge £100 & give decent T-shirts. 

    Simple to get in run faster or put your hand in your pocket & do something good for charity image



  • They want you to stump up a lot more than ??190 to run it for a charity. They want you to raise at least ??500 which makes it the most expensive major. ??300 of that goes to the race organisers and after the charities have taken their expenses then there is only ??3.50 left "to do something good for charity"
  • Normally you have to raise at least £1200 for charity at VLM these days but that's not alot a money really - the charitiees must think it's  worthwhile orr they wouldn't do it.

    Of the £300 golden bond cost much of that goes to VLM's chosen charities.


  • Of course the charities think it's worthwhile. They pay themselves good salaries out of the money raised.
  • but they still do go work with the remaining funds I'm sure image 

    I do prefer to support smaller charities so I know exactly where the money is going - My chosen Charity is Brathay Trust & I'm hoping to raise £3000 for them in the next 9 months image 

  • The charity fat cats will be having a glass of champers on the likes of simple smiley people like you
  • WardiWardi ✭✭✭

    Errr, off topic.  This is supposed to be a thread about GFA places.  Please don't turn it into yet another charity bashing punch & judy show, there will be enough of those after the ballot results come out!

  • Ok I will save my best charity bashes for late October. But he started it Sir ;0)
  • As a disgruntled middle-aged 3:30 man, discriminated against by both age and gender, I would point out that another way to get in is all the freebie places given to sponsors and friends of the organising committee. It's not quite as bad as the football authorities but there are definitely people "running" who (i) haven't trained, (ii) haven't paid, (iii) aren't raising dosh for charity, (iv) laugh in the face of the ballet (I think it should be renamed to this). I know some.

  • If you want to run it that much - just train harder and get a GFA ?

    Or apply for your club place ?

    You'll always get people who haven't trained properly - but then again - if you had - surely you'd have got a GFA ?
  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    harsh !

  • Harsh but fair.  The changes have made it easier for middle aged men, especially the 50 year olds.


    i did it in 3 05 with shin splints.....

  • To discriminate is to differentiate. Without letting every person through auatomatically, then surely you have to discriminate, or am I missing the point.

    RM3 - out of interest, what would you class Good For Age for your age bracket, so that you weren't discriminated against? I'm guessing 3:31 image

  • Impressive assumptions in there Cougie. The point is that, to make some more assumptions and to put it in your terms, I have already trained more properly than people of other ages and genders who are being given places denied to me. Don't you think fairness would be every class of age and gender at the same age rating level?


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