I know this is a bit of an uncharitable thing to say, but all of these golden bond places--the entire sponsorship ethos--worries me. When I said I'd applied for a London place I had three people promise to sponsor me, and they were very puzzled when I said they didn't have to, I wasn't running for charity (if I got to run at all). It seems that the popular understanding of London--and other events like it, perhaps even of running as a sport--is that ordinary people only do it to raise funds. Now I know what a godsend this must be to the charities concerned, but we're rapidly getting into a situation where if you won't or can't run for charity, you're manoevred into feeling guilty. Now, even trying to fit running in between teaching my 12 year old at home and working a long week is difficult enough. I might be able to spare time for limited fundraising, but--particularly living where I do--there's no way I'd be able to raise the £1,500 -2000 that most charities seem to want for a guaranteed place. I gather that North Wales was refered to as a third-world country in a recent EEC Directive (!), and however generous folks round here try to be, they're just not rich enough and there just isn't very many of them to cough up. As for asking my company to sponsor me--well, blood and stone springs to mind. Since presumably there are other folks who can and do raise phenomenal amounts, I'd be wasting a charity's time, really, if I even investigated Golden Bond Places, even the ones who ask for less of a pledge. I'm finding it all gloomy, really--it means if I don't get a place in the ballot, I don't run. That's ok, I suppose: but I do wonder if we're not making our sport a slave to sponsorship.