London Marathon Ballot system is a joke.

For how much longer are the London Marathon organiser going to get away with their shambollick entry system? You apply year after year in the faint glimmer of hope that you'll get a place and year after year you get the inevitable "missed out" letter. They say that if you have applied 5 years in a row then you are guaranteed a place in the 6th year, they dont make that clear anywhere though, and if you miss a year its back to the bottom of the pile. You generously say, keep my entry fee if I'm unsuccessful, and they send you a "free" top that is always the wrong size.

They should come clean, how many of the total runners places actually go to the ballot.I would hazard a guess at less than 10%.

Its not a runners race, its a shameless way of making money. It great that charities benefit from it, how much of the money paid into entrying it actually goes to charity is anyone's guess.

It was a race that was started by runners, which has become an event that has forgotten its running roots.

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Comments

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    If you dont like it, you are free to chose another race.

  • Have to agree very difficult to get in through the ballot - but the solution is pretty simple, run another race get the qualifying (sub 2:45) time or a good for age and get a guaranteed entry - simple.

  • The 5 year rule was the previous sponsor. Virgin agreed to keep it going for a few years. This is the last year that 5 fails gets win.

    I'm tight and don't donate my fee. I wouldn't want to wear a top advertising the VLM having never run it.

    It was started by real runners, but is now a fancy dress party. Surely real marathoners that can't get in on a GFA run real marathons like Abingdon or similar? London is on my list, but only to tick off. I didn't even enter this year.

  • LM is what it is.  they don't have to change a single thing as it is oversusbcribed every year. their race, their rules.

    as stutyr says, you are free to choose another event if you don't like it

  • That is why i would never run this race, heard too many stories of folk trying to get in and never succeeding.   Lot of other great marathons out there so go for those.  just my opinion

  • Can you come up with a good alternative though?

    First come first served - would need massive capacity and no doubt the system would crash

    Applications - where you have to put in why I want to run VLM would no doubt lead to companies offering to do this for you not to mention the additional admin involved and inevitable nightmare of subjective criteria!

    So what do you suggest?

  • Rod.............real runners  can get a guaranteed entry every year........for all the rest of us its either luck or do another race............

     

  • I am free to choose another race, thats why I ran the Loch Ness marathon again yesterday.

    The GFA time keeps going down so they can sell more places to charities.

    I know lots of club runners that would struggle to make the GFA time.

    Its now 3:15 for my age group and will undoubtedly follow some of the others and drop to 3:10 or less very soon.

    I would have it that if you apply and don't get in, then your made priority for the following year, getting a place before first time applicants. And your case is prioritised higher the number of years you miss out, like it used to be.

    London is one of the big 5 marathons, the only one in this country and that is theonly reason that I want to run it.

    And your right, its their race, so their rules. I just expect a little more transparency.

  • Imagine the checks you'd need to work out who ran last year and who didn't ?

    Apply from a mates address and you'd be in.



    It's a victim of its own success. It's great that it's massively oversubscribed.
  • It may be one of the 'big five marathons' but what does that actually mean? 

    That is gives you bragging rights?  "yeah, I've done London/New York/Berlin....."

    It is just another 26.2 miles of running, but with a lot of people in costumes thrown in. 

  • Its the 20th century, all the checks could be done automatically by a software app.

    Like someone said, its a fancy dress event, if they keep making it more and more difficult for club runners to enter then they'll stop trying and the race will be the big loser.

  • Rod Wallace wrote (see)

    I am free to choose another race, thats why I ran the Loch Ness marathon again yesterday.

    The GFA time keeps going down so they can sell more places to charities.

    I know lots of club runners that would struggle to make the GFA time.

    Its now 3:15 for my age group and will undoubtedly follow some of the others and drop to 3:10 or less very soon.

    I would have it that if you apply and don't get in, then your made priority for the following year, getting a place before first time applicants. And your case is prioritised higher the number of years you miss out, like it used to be.

    London is one of the big 5 marathons, the only one in this country and that is theonly reason that I want to run it.

    And your right, its their race, so their rules. I just expect a little more transparency.

    And how would that work? Say there are 20,000 ballot places and 50,000 people apply which from the figures I have seen quoted of ranging from a 1 in 5 chance of getting in and a 1 in 14 chance is probably way too low. If that happened no-one would get in the following year that was a first time applicant and even all second time applicants wouldn't either!

  • Rod Wallace wrote (see)

    Like someone said, its a fancy dress event, if they keep making it more and more difficult for club runners to enter then they'll stop trying and the race will be the big loser.

    That's another route to a place - running clubs affiliated to UKA get guaranteed places to allocate as they see fit. 

    However, even if loads of club runners did stop trying (which they won't) that would only put a dent in the number of people who apply - which is currently limited to 125,000.  There must be plenty more who miss that cut-off. 

  • And it puts off new runners, I know of people that aren't runners that apply and dont get in and low and behold never become runners. I even try and cajole them along saying to start with 10K and work your way up. 

    The sad thing is London has become a business and will remain so as long as no one complains and goes with the status quo.

    Oh, and I have lodged a complaint with the organisers, not that it will do any good.

     

  • I quite proudly tell people that I've never, nor am I at all interested in the VLM.  There are far better marathons out there.

  • How about for every unsuccessful application you get one extra entry in the ballot for the next year until you are picked. This way your chances are increased every time you are unsuccessful. It's not going to guarantee anything because if it's oversubscribed it's impossible to please everybody, but it would be slightly fairer for those who have previously been disappointed.

  • I love these threads. Every year someone doesn't get in then rants about the ballot system.

    Just train harder and run a GFA time or go pick another marathon. I have run London and wouldn't go back to run it again, it's not fun.

    With regards to putting of new runners, probably not as much as actually running it does! If they are put off that easily then they were doing it for the wrong reasons anyway.

  • Other marathons are available.

  • People keep telling me that the LM is hard to get into.  I applied for the first time this year, not through the ballot, I applied through a charity and have just been offered a place.  I'm sure people won;t be happy to hear that but it seems to me that it's the luck of the draw?

    But if people are raising money for charity then I say fair play.

    Sorry for my ignorance but what is GFA? 

  • What they should do is stop the charity places scandal. Keep the championship places and GFA.

    Then have a ballot for all the others. It wouldn't mean everyone who wanted to would get in, but it would increase the chances, so at least it would be worth applying each year.

    The other option would be to only accept entries from people who could prove they had completed a marathon within the previous 12 months. This would get rid of all the idiots who put in on a whim and turn up on the day having run a maximum of 8 miles. It would also be a massive shot in the arm to other marathon races around the country.

  • But what if a serious runner was running it for the first time?  Why should they miss out?  Why should only experienced runners get in?

  • Dobster wrote (see)

    But what if a serious runner was running it for the first time?  Why should they miss out?  Why should only experienced runners get in?


    if they were serious runners it wouldn't be a problem to have have to run another marathon first.

    i don't think it should necessarily have to have been within the previous 12 months though.

  • Dobster - GFA is Good For Age. If you achieve the require time at another marathon within a certain time of VLM then you get a guaranteed entry and no need for the ballot.

  • Okay, make it 24 months.

  • Some excellent ideas for alternative entry. But if no one complains then it will never change and will continue to be filled with c list celebs from TOWIE, whatever that is.
  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    The ballot system is really annoying, but if your thing is to run one of the big five then both Berlin and Chicago are first come first served. No ballot system for those.

     

  • it continues to be a huge success with demand far outstripping supply of places so i doubt it will change anyway.

    they want the celebs to run it.

    they want the charity places.

    they want first time marathon runners.

  • Eggyh73Eggyh73 ✭✭✭

    It attracts huge attention from outside the running community because it's on the telly every year. Exact same reason why the GNR and Manchester 10km are so popular too.

    That's great for inspiring new runners. Would we rather the television broadcasters ignored these events, which over time would see the entry levels decrease?

  • Rod Wallace wrote (see)

    Its the 20th century


    It's the 21st century! Do you have a time machine? image

  • stutyrstutyr ✭✭✭

    Exiled claret, they already have a system that gives places to runners who have completed a marathon in the last 24 months.  The only caveat is that they have completed the previous marathon in under a certain time.  Thats the "Good For Age" system.

    London is a race that is physically restricted to a certain number of runners (35000 ish?) but has more than 100 000 people who wnat to run it. That means you are always going to have over 65000 unhappy people regardless of the entry method/criteria.

    Also if you did a first come/ first serve it would be filled within the first two hours of applications opening, and then the forum would be flooded with complaints of the web site not accepting their entry/crashing or freezing etc etc 

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