I missed the London Marathon ballot - what are my options?


The online ballot for the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon may have closed in record time, but if you weren’t able to get your entry in before the ballot closed, or you do not secure a place when entrants are notified in October, there are still a number of options open to you to pursue your marathon dream!

Charity entries

If there's a charity close to your heart and you'd like to run the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon for them, you might be able to secure a charity entry.

Most major charities have a set number of entry places in the London Marathon each year through a Golden and Silver Bond scheme. They allocate these places to runners on the basis that they will raise an agreed amount of money for the charity.

To apply for a charity place, you'll need to contact your chosen charity directly and see if they've got any places to offer you.

Click here to search the full charity listings and get in touch with your charity.

Cancer Research UK is the official charity for 2015 and offers some great benefits to its huge team which will aim to raise a massive £2.5 million. Click here to find out more about joining Cancer Research UK’s biggest ever London Marathon team.

There are usually more runners interested in running for each charity than there are charity places available, so the charities will select their runners based on the runner's connection with the good cause and how much money they are realistically able to raise for the charity.

You can register your interest with your charity at any time and they'll keep you on file.

Other ways to enter

There are a number of other ways to enter the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon, but they are open only to people who fulfill various criteria:

If you secured a place but were unable to take part this year, you could be guaranteed a place in the 2015 event. Click here to find out if this applies to you and what you need to do to secure your entry.

Affiliated England Athletics clubs can apply for club entries into the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon. The number of entries given to each club is based on the number of first claim registered members over the age of 18 the club has. To search for your nearest club, visit www.englandathletics.org/clubfinder

If you live overseas or you are pretty nippy around 26.2 miles then other options may apply to you. These include: Overseas entries; 'Good for Age' entries; Championship entries and The 2015 Virgin Money London Wheelchair Marathon. Visit the London Marathon website for more.

Bupa Westminster Mile start 2013Alternative events

Due to the popularity of the London Marathon, it’s inevitable that not everyone who wishes to enter will be able to secure a place. If you are unable to secure a place, you can always enter one of the other great marathons taking place around the same time in the UK and abroad, which also offer an unforgettable experience. Remember, once you’ve done one it’s likely you’ll have caught the running bug (once the soreness has worn off!), and you can always apply for future London Marathons, so don’t lose heart!

Head over to www.runbritain.com/races to search for details of all licensed road races in the UK. Run England of course can’t guarantee the quality of overseas events, but many could form part of the trip of a lifetime for you and some friends.

In the meantime, why not try a local parkrun or your nearest Great Run Local to build up your fitness. Once you’ve built up your fitness with shorter events, you could schedule in some bigger events to get used to running for longer distances. Bupa Great Run and London Marathon offer some incredible mass participation experiences – and not just the big events!

Getting started

Whatever event you have planned, the saying goes ‘failure to prepare is to prepare to fail’, and this holds all the more true the longer the distance is that you’re preparing for.

A running buddy can make preparation much more fun, and can help keep you motivated too. If you need people to run with, why not try your nearest Run England group, all of which are led by qualified group leaders. Head over to www.runengland.org/groups to search for your local running group.

For great advice, why not listen to the hugely popular Marathon Talk podcast on iTunes or pick up a copy of Runner’s World which is packed full of tips for everyone from beginners through to serious runners.

If you’re embarking on a training programme, it’s always a good idea to get checked out by your doctor. We also recommend getting your gait properly tested and kitting yourself out with an appropriate pair of running shoes.

Sweatshop offers a fantastic service as all of its staff are biomechanically trained, and what’s more Run England members get £15 off running shoes at Sweatshop. Sign up to Run England at www.runengland.org/signup and if you’re opted in to receive news and information from us, you’ll be emailed your voucher with our eRunner newsletter which you can use at a Sweatshop store near you.

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