Start position in VLM

I've got a place in the VLM through my club. It'll probably be my first full marathon, but I'd quite like to get a good time and run competitively, as there's a university title up for grabs.
I was told I shouldn't start "with the joggers" otherwise I'll be held up, but how do the organisers determine who starts where? And what needs to be done to get into a good starting area?


  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    When you sent in your entry form, you will have been asked to put an estimated finish time on it.

    That is what determines your start pen - the quicker the time, the nearer the front.

    In theory!

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭
    Pethead wrote (see)

    And what needs to be done to get into a good starting area?

    You need to be able to run a marathon in a decent time!!  As above your estimated finish time will determine your start time.  If its a club place then you will be on the blue start.

    You're club is quick to give out the club places.  We wait until after the ballot is drawn to see who gets in that way before doing our draw, usually November.

  • Thanks guys!
    We're a small club and the committee doesn't meet very often, so they decided it at an early opportunity as there weren't many runners to choose from.
    If you've got a crystal ball, I'd love to know exactly what time to expect! I think I put 3:00 on the form but could be quite a bit either side of that. Either way, Blue Start sounds good as the mass start's Red, yes?

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    The blue start is a mass start too but at around the 3hr mark you'll be near the front so I wouldn't worry too much!

    Is this your first marathon? 

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    If you've got a recent race time (any distance, but the longer the better), then you can put it into a pace calculator such as McMillan and get an idea of what you should be capable of over other distances.

    The blue start is probably just as busy as the red, and people put down totally unreaslitic estimates of finishing times in order to get a position nearer the front! 

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    What other race times have you done?

    If you did put down 3:00 you will be near the front and should get a pretty clear run.  I started in zone 2 which I think was equivalent to 3:15, and although the start was busy I was jogging over the start line and running relatively freely shortly afterwards.  Completed the first mile in 7:15 or something, so only a few seconds to make up...  Zones 1 or 2, you'll be fine.

  • Thanks again guys. Yeah, it'll be my first one. I've done 1.20 for a not-very-flat half, and would like 1.15 at Bristol this September. Also 27:32 for 5M and 16:40 for 5K.

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    Its not always a bad thing to be held up in the first mile.  My first mile this year was slow (bloody celebs image) but there's plenty of time to make it up.

    I think there's a system in place where they check other race times of first timers who estimate a fast time to check its realistic, and likewise those who's predicted marathon time is considerably faster than their previous one.


  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    x-post. Don't fret then pethead, nail sub 1:15 half in September and you will qualify for a championship entry.  Then you are guaranteed a fast start. image

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    Ah yes, 1:15:00 or quicker at Bristol would be sweet.  (Me, Bristol 2010:  1:15:13.  Gutted?  A little bit!!)  The Champs start would mean being that little bit closer to the front on the blue start, i.e. sandwiched between the elites and zone 1.  (And you get your own warm-up area with better ratio of toilets to runners and other such luxuries...)

  • Can you work out which start you're at by your race number?
  • Where do the GFAs start?

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    GFA - Green.  FGFA - Red.

  • Where do they draw the line between GFA and Fast GFA ?
  • Fast GFA is sub 3:15 and GFA. To explain, a male runner in his twenties who did 3:12 would not be on Fast GFA as that is not a GFA time in his category. The Fast GFA is a fantastic start where the masses are held back and a marshall takes you right to the front. The pen is fantastic too with shorter/no queues and people actually coming around offering you drinks - makes me feel like a real runner!

  • No one offered me drinks One Gear image

  • I'll be 35 with a 3.07 where does that put me?
  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭
    Me neither. Red.
  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭
    But it doesn't make a difference which one your on. I've been on the green 5 times and the red twice and really think I prefer the green.
  • Think if you are a sub 3:30 runner at London then you really cant blame the crowds too much for the time you run in - its down to you

  • Millsy, by my reckoning that makes you Fast GFA as you are Good For Age in your category and sub 03:15.

    Maybe I get offered the drinks because I an usually there very early.

    Red versus Green start. The red is a slightly tougher start in that is is more undulating in the first 3 miles - there is even a slight hill, whereas the green is pretty much downhill/flat until the starts come together. When I have done it the problem with the green start is getting past the "celebrities". Getting past the Masai warriors running in a circle in full war gear was no easy task I can tell you!

  • One Gear V Masai warriors....fight!!!

  • Yeah tricky getting past those pointy spears !
  • I entered a time of about 6hr 30mins on the entry but that was when i had no idea what place i'd make. SO i guess theyll put me close to the back and hopefully ill break away from the walkers image i'd like to aim for around 5hrs for now image

  • Record a faster half marathon time and take proof of it when you collect your number. They may move you up a pen. It's worth asking.
  • Wicked, cheers Cougie. i've got my first official half the end of this month image excited much!

  • Ultra cougie wrote (see)
    Record a faster half marathon time and take proof of it when you collect your number. They may move you up a pen. It's worth asking.

    Doing the Liverpool HM so will try this myself,going for a 4hr Marathon

Sign In or Register to comment.