London Marathon Good For Age



  • Morning all, after some help please, I have a 2:59 from autumn last year and now a 2:44 from the weekend. Both GFA, and champs start. However I've never been in a club, will the 2:44 count if I find a club or do you have to run the time as a uka club member Thanks if anyone can help as not really on topic.

  • I heard the women run less distance in their marathon, that's why it's easier...image

    It's still 26 miles.  The percentages of finishers under a time are meaningless as position.  Remember you don't need a London GFA to enter GFA - so you'd need power of 10.  Then not everyone able to enter does.  The only "fair" way would be a pysiological GFA difference like a male/female fitness test but that is not its purpose.  It is a sifter.  A sieve. 

    Now go for a run.

  • Garmin says I ran 26.7 miles and I missed out on the GFA times by 2 minutes. Note to self....get on the blue line!!! image

  • Ha ha Miss J... you are assuming you're Garmin is correct. 

    I believe it was possible to run shorter than marathon distance as the line didn't go through the apex on all the corners especially in the twisty City.  Can't prove it without a trundle wheel/bike though.   

  • The blue line doesn't represent the measured 26.2 miles in any case.  It's painted by a bloke hanging out the back of an estate car.  The course measurement is done separately using a calibrated wheel.

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    I measured 26.3, which is was my shortest ever London. image

  • People are right to be annoyed/frustrated that they thought they had a GFA time but now know they don’t, but I think starting petitions and badmouthing the system about it isn’t really going to maintain people’s sympathy. The 2014 entry criteria were only announced yesterday. People who assumed they would qualify by looking at the 2013 criteria haven’t been cheated or had the goalposts moved; they simply made a false assumption.


    I’ve read a lot about GFA on here in the last couple of days but not a single comment (that I recall) which describes what the actual purpose of GFA is. Many who are complaining are assuming it’s purely aspirational and designed to encourage people to achieve certain times. I’ve never seen the London Marathon describe it that way (or any other way, to be fair).


    I’ve always assumed that GFA is about having balance in the field. If the race was purely ballot and club/charity places there would be relatively few people on the course at sub 3:10 pace, so they allow people to run in what would otherwise be empty space (without it placing undue logistical problems at the start and finish). Similarly, they ensure they have more women in the 3-4 hour pace band (which would similarly be slightly sparse otherwise) so the gender balance isn’t too male. They give times to older runners to prevent it being too much of a young person’s game. Therefore, GFA is about having the maximum number of people on the course, but without having too large an imbalance of male or younger runners.


    If this is the purpose of it, there isn’t an aspirational side to the times but rather a filtering system of how many extra runners can be added. Logically, if there are too many runners in the 3:05-3:10 band it makes sense for them to lower the GFA times to control the congestion. Similarly, if there are too few finishers in the 3:10-3:15 category, by a similar number that there are likely people to apply, it makes sense to increase the numbers. Only by looking at the finishing times on the day and the levels of congestion on the course can they make an informed decision. Allowing too many people to take part at a certain pace can make it much slower for everyone and therefore a less enjoyable experience for all.


    If the times are being used as aspirational, then logically that will see more people pushing to get within those times and therefore more congestion on those parts of the course. Similarly, if more people are pushing for sub 3;10, say, that could create a lack of runners in the 3:11-3:13 times since they’ve all pushed more to achieve the times. Once the times start being used as an aspiration, more people will meet them and their ability to be consistent over time decreases.


    Personally, my best chance of a GFA time will be for the 2018 race, where I can use a time I achieved as a 39 year old to qualify me to run as a 41 year old. The time I’ll be aspiring for in 2016 will be the GFA as reported in 2016. If I achieve it, but fail to get a place as a year later the times are altered I’ll be disappointed, but still glad that I achieved what I was intending to get. I’ll probably have no chance of knowing the time I need for 2018 until I’ve completed all my races which could qualify me. That’s a bad thing if you view GFA as an aspirational time, but logical if you view it as a crowd congestion control. I suspect they use it as the latter, so it’s going to have times where it fails as the former.

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭
    Minni wrote (see)

    I measured 26.3, which is was my shortest ever London. image

    Me too, but one of them was implausibly slow and I strongly suspect it of having a great big tunnel in the middle.

    Dave, I agree with some of that (it was very long!), but I don't think looking at the results of just one race is likely to predict exactly where the congestion will be the following year, so there wouldn't need to be that much year-by-year adjustment of qualifying times. Also, there was no particular congestion in the 3:05-3:10 range this year that I noticed, you could have got loads more runners in there.

  • From this petition it says,

    Thousands of runners have dedicated months and months or their time training to try and run under 3.10 in the marathon, only to now be told that their time no longer qualifies.

    How many have signed so far - 304. Basically this petition will not change anything. It will make VLM look stupid to go back because a few are not happy.

  • Good point runnerman and well made points Wirral Dave.

    I did sign the petition because I think if I had been one of the few affected I would have been pretty upset. However, perhaps the small number signing indicates how few have been affected. On that basis it wouldn't create a huge problem to accomodate them?????image


  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    There's no way VLM will go back on their decision even if the petition was in the thousands. 

    Its not like this strips anyone of what they have achieved or will achieve.  Nothing changes other than a group of people will have to apply through the ballot if they want to run London, or go for a club place, or run a qualifying time, or chose another marathon.

  • Ok, here are the GFA times for 2009, 2013 and 2014.


    18-40 (2009) 2.45-3.00 (2013) sub 3.10 (2014) sub 3.05

    41-59 (2009) sub 3.15 (2013) sub 3.15 (2014) 41-49 sub 3.15  50-59 sub 3.20

    60-64 (2009) sub 3.30 (2013) sub 3.30 (2014) sub 3.45

    65-69 (2009) sub 4.00 (2013) sub 4.00 (2014) sub 4.00

    70+    (2009) sub 5.00 (2013) sub 5.00 (2014) 70-75 sub 5.00  76+ sub 5.30


    18-49 (2009) 3.15-3.45 (2013) 3.15-3.50 (2014) 18-40 sub 3.45  41-49 sub 3.50

    50-54 (2009) sub 4.00 (2013) sub 4.00 (2014) 50-59 sub 4.00

    55-59 (2009) sub 4.15 (2013) sub 4.15

    60-64 (2009) sub 4.30 (2013) sub 4.30 (2014) sub 4.30

    65-69 (2009) sub 5.30 (2013) sub 5.30 (2014) sub 5.00

    70+    (2009) sub 6.30 (2013) sub 6.30 (2014) 70-75 sub 6.00 76+ sub 6.30

  • even achieving GFA times at London doesn't guarantee you a place.In 2011 I ran 3:40 in London,applied for a GFA place and they apparently "lost" my application. I entered Brighton 2012 and got a pb there (3:32) sent proof and guess what they lost it AGAIN!!

    And yes I did send them special delivery.luckily I had entered brighton again as back up but seriously not impressed.

  • kk unfortunately I had to defer, I have had tendonitis, my own stupid fault for trying some new go faster trainers  after years of injury free running in good old asics 21 series (at my age its a question of clutching at straws to knock  few minutes off image) trained well right up to the last long run then couldn't put my foot on the floor the next day, I hoped it would recover in time but it didnt I pulled out on the thur before the marathon, its alot better now still taking it easy though, how did you get on KK ?

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    Helen  similar - a few years ago I applied for a GFA and didn't receive my form back. I phoned them and they insisted it had been sent.  I went away on holiday and returned on the Thursday evening to the entry form in a Royal Main envelope with a letter of apology stating it had been lost and damaged in transit.  The closing date was the following day.  I phone them first thing in the morning to explain and they said they would not accept it.  I filled the form in anyway, sent it with the cheque, a covering letter and copies of the damaged enevelop and letter from RM.  They still wouldn't budge. 

  • literatinliteratin ✭✭✭

    Hopefully they'll put it online this year to avoid all the nonsense.

    Though having said that, my (online) champs application was rejected on my first attempt this year because they misread the results. I had to ring up and explain the difference between chip time and gun time while we both looked at the results. And then she forgot to send me the confirmation e-mail.

  • Not sure about the GFA differential between older men and women. I do think 5hrs 30 mins was perhaps too generous for my category but 5 hours seems more realistic. I did 4hrs 19 this year at VLM so got my place for 2014.

  • Toro wrote (see)

    I heard the women run less distance in their marathon, that's why it's easier...image

    It's still 26 miles.  The percentages of finishers under a time are meaningless as position.  Remember you don't need a London GFA to enter GFA - so you'd need power of 10.  Then not everyone able to enter does.  The only "fair" way would be a pysiological GFA difference like a male/female fitness test but that is not its purpose.  It is a sifter.  A sieve. 

    Now go for a run.

    Wirral Dave - I refer you to my comment above.  A sifter. A sieve.  Thank you.

  • NN, KK - Girls only get a 55 minute advantage in my old man's age group now, you need to be a proper pensioner to get the hour advantage!


  • 2Old2Old ✭✭✭

    NN- you have my sympathies,the same happened to me . My achilles went pear shaped 10 days pre VLM and every step run is now met with searing pain.  4 months and1000 miles of training down the pan!  Fortunately I ran Liverpool in October  in 3.09 and so have a GFA for next year. My GFA target for VLM has got easier too 3.20 from 3.15. Hope you recover soon and get your GFA in an Autumn marathon 

  • I'm sure these points have been raised already, but I wanted to add my voiced to those who are upset.

    1. You may well be able to run sub-3:05 (for my particular GFA time) but if you know 3:10 is the target, you may choose to run 3:10 as it's a lower risk strategy.

    2. I agree that the London Marathon team don't need to concern themselves about what is fair, but if they can keep everyone on-side by giving sufficient notice of changes, why wouldn't they?

    3. The petition isn't, perhaps, ideally worded, but it's anorther way of voicing discontent - so I would encourage people to sign it, and not just if they personally have been affected. Anyone who has relied on a GFA place COULD have been affected by this.


    Good luck to all those who are trying to salvage their marathon season's goal...

  • It depends if your goal was to run 1 second inside a GFA time, or to run the fastest marathon you could 

  • Whether you have been misinformed last year or last month. LM made its decision to change GFA. They decided to announce this the same day the 2014 ballot opens. They set the rules for the 2014 marathon. Nothing wrong with that. They don't need to give advance notice they going to change GFA. Its their event and they are entitled to do what they like. If the changes made it easier, most of you would not be complaining. They can even change it next year or worse still, scrap GFA altogether. Remember GFA didn't exist for 20 years of the LM. They can change the route without warning if they want to. LM made the decision to change GFA and they are not going to apologise or revert back to last year's times.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭
    Dave The Ex- Spartan wrote (see)

    It depends if your goal was to run 1 second inside a GFA time, or to run the fastest marathon you could 

    ...given what constraints?  I was aiming for a sub-3 marathon at FLM'07. The heat had other ideas and by 22 miles I was a minute behind pace, heart rate increasing and legs tying up.  I made a conscious decision at that point to back off a wee smidge, and concentrate on getting home in a reasonable time, still running, finishing with a 3:04 (which I was still delighted with in my first marathon.)  Let's say the GFA time was 3:03; I'm pretty sure that I could have buried myself to achieve that time on the day, but under the circumstances it wasn't worth my while going through the extra pain just to say that I'd run a minute or two quicker.

    So I can fully understand the grievance felt by the small proportion of borderline runners who thought they were aiming for one target to find out afterwards that the target had changed.  Of course VLM can do what they like, but people can also respond to what VLM do to say whether they like it or not.

  • It was the drama of salvaging their marathons seasons goal ......

    did they enter this years VLM with the sole objective of getting a GFA or of running the best marathon they could ? 

    I know only will only just do enough this year to qualify for next years where I will run even quicker.   

  • My son ran his first marathon at Brighton this year (for charity) aiming for GFA so he could then fulfill his dream of running London. He trained really hard for 4 months and despite going out a little too fast managed to hold on and run 3:09:55. He and the rest of the family were DISGUSTED at the change. I am also a runner and was inspired by my son to enter Brighton next year and run my first marathon aged 60. I have participated and followed sport all my life and this decision to raise times without adequate notice is in my view grossly unfair. What surprises and to some extent adds to my disgust is the fact that there is not unaminous support for attempting to redress this injustice. We are both members of a running club and even there levels of support have been mixed and my son has probably missed out on the chance of a place in the club ballot.

  • MinniMinni ✭✭✭

    David - clubs will only be applying for their club places now and all clubs I know (including my own) do the draw once the ballot has taken place in October.   The club entries don't need to be back in until late November so loads of time.  I'd be really surprised if your club has done its draw already!

  • old4speedold4speed ✭✭✭

    David - Minni is dead right, lots of clubs draw from runners who have a ballot rejection slip so can't do this until October.  Our club always draws the places at the Christmas social

  • Club entries this year didn't have to be til Jan ! 

    Instead of running Brighton for charidee he should have just done London that way ! 


    But hey, where woulbe we be without some knashing of teeth and wringing of hands 

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