London Marathon Ballot system is a joke.



  • Matthew HeadMatthew Head ✭✭✭
    In regards to ballot taking so long - you forget that they also offer the GFA and Championship places, and the deadline for this is June (I think). They make the GFA and Champ allocations, which includes the time required for the validations, before they run the ballot - as they all form the same pool of entries.
  • NorthEnderNorthEnder ✭✭✭
    I've not been lucky enough to get in yet, but it all seems pretty fair. Except I'd change the following:
    • I would not allow any runner who gets in by ballot, by club allocation or by GFA to use those entry routes in two consecutive years.  
    • I guess that the biggest number in those categories would be the GFA.  It's great that someone who trains well can get a place, but it's not right that people who are able to beat the GFA qualifying standard every year can just keep their place tied up, whilst so many people never get to sample the race even once.  Cut down on these and you can give more ballot places or slightly relax the GFA criteria.
    • I would not award GFA places to people who achieve their qualifying times by taking the tube for part of the distance.
    I think they should leave the entry system exactly as it is, it works really well.   If someone really wants to run London they can get a charity place and raise the required funds, even just by putting the money in themselves, use their savings or get a part time job.....if someone really wants to do this race they can, instead of just moaning about the ballot. 

    NorthEnder - I disagree re GFA places, runners work hard for those places and deserve them and also VLM is the British Marathon Championships and used as qualifying events for Olympic and World Championships.  

    I agree about taking the tube though :D
  • Sub17ParkRunSub17ParkRun ✭✭✭
    That is the way it is. You do not always get what you want in life. There are millions of people competing for  a golden ticket into the London Marathon.
  • BikoBiko ✭✭✭
    GFA entries are necessary for the race. You need a swathe of runners running 2:30-3:30 in order to top congestion. If they were released into the ballot you'd end up with most runners going at 4:00-6:00 which wouldn't be great.

    Ideally you wouldn't allow someone to get in via the ballot more than once (and I say that as someone who got in via the ballot last year and has re-entered the ballot this year).

    To make the ballot "fairer" I'd make it slightly harder to do, have it open for a couple of days rather than five. However, I understand why London Mara keep it open for so long. The more people who enter the ballot, the more people they can fire e-mails off to trying to convince them to run for charity.

    Overall, I think they do a pretty good job of running what is a very over-subscribed race and fulfilling their goals to make money for charity. It's not easy.
  • cougiecougie ✭✭✭
    If they made the GFA harder to hit - then presumably they'd just get less people claiming them.

    Could they put those numbers back into the main field ? Not very easily - it looks too busy as it is.

    GFA just strings the race out a bit more otherwise you'd get the elites and then a few dribs and drabs and then a logjam of humanity around the 4hour mark....
  • cougiecougie ✭✭✭
    Ooh just looked it up - Male average time 4hr 4mins.
    Female 4h 39 mins.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    edited May 8
    I think the ballot was open for longer to allow more people to apply. If it's only open for a day or two (as was the case a few years ago) or until a number of applicants had been received , then this penalises those that don't live their lives on the internet. They get a longer period of time to register their interest.
    Of course there is the increase base to send charitable pleadings too, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
    As for GFA, quite a few of my club mates get GFA year after year, yet don't always run London, preferring to run other races. The fact remains that some GFA are easier to achieve than others - the 60% wava for senior ladies being the obvious outlier.
    I'm with Shades on GFA - If you've trained hard for 18 weeks to get a time I don't see why you should be limited to every other year.

  • Big_GBig_G ✭✭✭
    Dustin it's here:

    Plus there's a larger thread on LetsRun.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Thanks Big G, found it minutes after posting - hence the late edit!
  • I don't know what the alternative would be; however, I think it is unfair for a previous poster to insinuate that 'real marathoners' should run other marathons and that London has just become a fancy dress party.
    I ran the London Marathon for the first time this year. It was also my first marathon. 26.2 miles is 26.2 miles. No matter where you run it. So please do not crush someone else's successes when they have worked very hard and overcome so much to be a 'marathoner'.
  • Agree 100%, Nina, and well done you.
     Adding fuel to the fire - anyone outside the UK can get an entry place by booking through a travel agency that has been allocated start places. I did that twice from Germany. Always wondered how many places are given to travel agencies and thus not in the ballot at all.
  • I don't think that's much of an issue DBI - after all, UK runners use travel agencies to do overseas marathons.  There's an overseas ballot as well, run separately to the main ballot.  At Boston several runners mentioned how hard it was to get a entry for London - I imagine that the overseas ballot is at least as oversubscribed as the UK one, if not more, and there's no equivalent to GFA available to overseas runners, unlike some of the other majors.

    I notice that the VLM website only lists one Tour Operator in the states and none in Canada, but plenty in other places. 

  • DadAgainDadAgain ✭✭✭
    Tour places are outrageously expensive. I looked into it - but it would have been AU$4K for entry and 3 nights in a hotel. Instead I stayed with my parents and raised AU$4K for Cancer Research and had a charity place.

    Even if I really didn't want to do any fundraising just flat out buying a charity place would be better than giving cash to a profiteering travel agency! 
  • Wow. That is a lot. Clearly the Tour organiser needs to make a profit though and I'm sure the entry doesn't come cheaply either.  It's like the price that charities pay for each entry - that's in the £100s.

    But the London Marathon is a charity - so its not as bad as it might seem. 
  • NayanNayan ✭✭✭
    I think GFA needs to be banned. They should instead allocate places according to whoever really really really really wants to run a marafun in der own taan. 
    Extra marks if you can spell your own name in the letter too. Stuff like that.
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Errr........yes, ok. GFA is for people who have worked hard and pushed themselves to achieve a challenging time, rather than people who happen to live in London. They also tend to be at the front of the race where there's more room - getting rid of GFA and increasing the number of general places would just increase the numbers of slower runners who would be running in the busiest part of the race, which is already very busy. Not going to work.

    Aren't they setting up a half marathon for people who live locally but don't have the commitment or drive to qualify for London marathon via GFA?

    Unfortunately from the marketing spiel it looks like they want to engineer it so that the demographics of the race match that of the population of London, so if you're male and white it may not matter how much you "really really really want to run", you're going to be discriminated against. 

    Or just work harder and get GFA or put your efforts into fundraising for a charity place. Those people who really really want to run in London will do what it takes.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    Yeah a new half marathon ( with places ringfenced for the Boroughs - or should I say 'burrahs'?
    I think they should ban everyone except those that have suspicious chip times and get them all to run instead. Will make fascinating viewing as they hurdle barriers, duck under railings and catch the tube, before we see them sprinting the last 100 yards.

  • A local half marathon for local people. How very Brexit !
  • rodeofliprodeoflip ✭✭✭
    Don't mind the local run for local people thing, seems fair enough. But the whole discrimination thing ("positive" or otherwise) just seems wrong. They are welcome to it!
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