different starts

just wondering about the different starts....i've never done london before, and am aiming for 3.20 ish, but am worried about getting held up at the start...i've no idea what it's like!
i gave my predicted time as 3.20 and i have a good for age place based on a 3.30 time. which start would that put me in? are there predicted time boundaries on the different starts or is it alphabetical or something?


  • There are 3 starts at London, Red, Blue and Green. The masses generally start from Red, Blue is the Elite, Championship and I forget who else, and the Green is Good for age. I am sure that someone will correct me if I get any of this wrong. Normally at the starts there are pens. The pen you are allocated too is dependant on your predicted time. But it is all beautifully explained in the marathon news we get in March.
  • There are different starts. They are allocated according to your running number. I can't remember exactly but I think up to about 10000 is blue start and above that is red start. I have always been on red but am blue next year.
    I don't know how they work out what start to put you in. I think blue might be good for age, ballot, etc and red charity.
    Each start is divided into pens and you will have a little sticker on your number that corresponds to which pen you go in at the start. You can move back pens but not forward. You are allocated a pen according to your predicted time.
    I think I was in 5 last year for a time of 4hrs. You should be in 2/3 maybe. Probably about 5 mins to get through the start.
  • If blue is elite then I am worried!
    I think green is elite. I hope so anyway or I had better get some serious training in!
  • When you recieve your running number it will have a small sticker in the bottom left hand corner that will tell you the pen you are to start in.you will start on the blue start,get to the front of your pen if tou can beaware that there is a sharp left hand turn about half a mile in,its quite crowded and there are sleeping policemen in the road.Ive run it for the last three years , good luck.
  • DustinDustin ✭✭✭
    If you get through the ballot , I am sure you start on blue.
    I have run 5 times , 3 from red (charity places) and twice from blue (the two times I was accepted.
    You will get a little sticker teeling you what pen to start with,3h30 is pen 3 - I was in it this year - and it took about 80secs to get across the start.
    Started from 8 in 2000 (charity place) and that took 10 minutes!

    From pens 1-3 or maybe 4 from blue,there is little crowd trouble.

    Good luck, won't be there this year (sniff!)
  • This year all GFA entrants started at the green start, which is the smallest in terms of numbers. A predicted time of 3:20 should get you into pen 3. I expect you should get over the start line in about a minute or so. You can expect the first mile or two to be a little congested, but then it should be fine.

    I am fairly confident of this information, since I ran with a GFA entry this year, although I was in pen 1.
  • Fluffa - this year the acceptance forms appear to carry the actual race numbers rather than a reference number. Is your number over 50,000? If so, you will be at the green start and will have little problem with congestion - you would only need to allow about a minute to cross the line.
  • I don't think you should worry about the time it takes to cross the line; They started using chip timing from last year.
  • hi, just looked at race number and it's 58043 (so i expect everyone to say hello to me ;)
    i'm not too fussed if it's just a few minutes at the start, it was just that i was talking to a friend who did it last year, and she said she was walking for ages, but then again, she did 5 hrs something, so would have definately had a different start going by all the above...
    it looks like just a bit of a forced warm up...that's cool.....on my last marathon it was freezing and i'd been waiting around in the cold for 2 hours so needed a warm up...did the first mile in 10 minutes!
  • Hi Fluffa, you will be in the green start and most probably have pen number 3. I had pen no.4 for a 3.30 last year. However, in the green start there just seems to be one long pen and it's very civilised! I was over the line in 2 mins. Don't forget those 2 mins also don't count because of the beauty of the chamionchip, which will record 'actual running time'. See you there!
  • sorry championchip! bring back the edit feature!!!
  • The championchip with time clocked at the start is a great improvement on just a time from the gun, but even so I'd like to beat my target time from the gun, just because of the picture at the finish, as the clock there doesn't show individual times.

    I think unless you're too far back that the people around you should be runnign at around the same pace, so hopefully won't hold you up too much.
  • Poor - fluffa - we all seem very confused as to what start is what.

    As I understand it, red and blue are mass starts with green being good for age.

    The elite men go from the red start at the very front and the championship AAA's men are close behind them and then the masses (ballot and charity places) are behind them.

    The elite women go from the blue start half an hour before anyone else starts. Then there's also the Football lot who go off the blue start along with more mass starters (ballot and charity places). Good For Age is the green start

    I got in through the ballot the first time and ran off the red start - ran off a guaranteed entry the second time and also started from the red start.
  • I ran FLM for my first marathon last year and was impressed by the organisation at the start. Started from pen 5 on blue start (I think) and got over the line within 5 mins. Wasn't too congested and the crowds did stop me from starting too fast, my usual problem. If you're in pen 2 or 3 you shouldn't have to wait much more than a couple of mins to get over the start. My club mate was in pen 2 & it took him less than a minute.
  • I've got in via the ballot and run from the blue start.

    They changed it last year and the women kicked off 45 minutes before the men.
  • Hi, I'm a first timer. Can anyone tell me how the chipped timing works? I predicted my finishing time as 3:15, but hope to run a couple of minutes quicker in order to get a GFA entry next year. I guess I will be blue start (ballot entry). What will the congestion be like?
  • Jogger, FLM will go by the time you cross the line at the start. Last year was the first time (apparently) that you got a time from start to finish rather than gun to finish so you get an accurate time which corresponds with the one on your watch.
  • I`ve got a golden bond place, do FLM still allocate pen numbers for golden bond holders, and where will we start from?
  • Cheers Llama man. Sounds a much better system. Hopefully will reduce tension at the start getting accross the line.
  • Fluffa, did you say on another thread that you've already got your FLM race number for a GFA place? The reason I ask is last year I don't think I got anything until about March and this year I've not got anything either. Any other GFA runners had their numbers?
  • I thought we'd all got our numbers this year. I know it was different last year. Might be wrong as I'm not GFA.
  • Golden Bond places get pens too - aren't you the lucky ones ;)

    Golden Bond entrants get sent a guaranteed entry form the same as the Good For Age people and the runners with places through their Running Clubs which you fill in with what time you think you're likely to run and they allocate a pen to you based on that time.
  • Thanks for the info running muppet.
  • Just reread my GFA info and says that we won't get anything now until we get the registration form at the beginning of March. So I can stop worrying now and just get on with the training.
  • the number you have is the registration number, you will not get runngin number until march. I have run it 3 times now and i made the mistake of thinking my registration number was my running number... WRONG wait until march.....
  • Gaynor - in previous years they gave us reference numbers. This year for the first time it is described on the notification as the running number. Hence we are all assuming ...
  • sorry haven't had my confirmation yet as getting a place via my running club, so have had no info. hadn't realised this. thanks for letting me know.
    Well we shall have to see.
  • When i did in 2001 was in pen 3 and took me 4 minutes to cross start.
    I would have found it harder to run any quicker (even if i could have) due tu numbers and also all bottles on floor- I had twisted my ankle 1m before so was v paranoid !
  • Hilly,
    I got my running number on my acceptance form (# 55461). My place was a GFA and my acceptance form came through with the Marathon magazine a couple of weeks back.

  • MM, I haven't had anything through, not even the magazine. Do you think I should phone them or wait a bit longer?
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