Rejected by the London Marathon

So another year, another rejection…

London rejectionAlthough I was rather annoyed that I didn’t even get to experience the excitement of rushing home to check which cover the magazine on my doormat had.  Instead, I received an email which my tablet brought up automatically displaying my result one day when I was at work – rejection.

But unlike some, I have had the opportunity to run the Virgin Money London marathon in the past.  I was lucky enough to gain a place in my running club ballot for 2014 and was so excited to hear my name called out that evening, promising to do my best throughout training and try my hardest to achieve a PB!  (I did!)  I didn’t expect to enjoy the race at all but ended up absolutely loving it and wanting another go!

entrance check VLMShame I’m so, so, so far away from the impossible sounding Good For Age time (currently set at 3h 45m).  I’ve typed in the numbers…that works out at an 8:35mm pace the entire race which is something I cannot yet imagine.  My current 5k parkrun PB was set with a 8:35mm pace!

This year, there were so many people who had achieved a Good For Age time that London Marathon have had to change the ratio of marathon places offered to affiliated clubs.  Usually our club receives four entries, but this year it is looking like that number will decrease to just three, despite our club being one of the larger in our area with more than 300 members.

I don’t know if London Marathon intends on running a similar ballot system again next year but I don’t think the system that they rolled out this year was welcomed by very many runners.  According to the Virgin Money London Marathon website, this year 247,069 people entered the ballot for a place in the Spring marathon.  This number has previously been capped at 125,000 entries, with nobody being able to enter the ballot once the limit has been reached.  There are just 50,000 runners who will be granted a place on the starting line, although a large portion of those are made up of charity runners and Good For Age entrants, along with the celebrities and elites.  Approximately 12,000 runners drop out or defer their place before ever making it to the start line though.

This year I didn’t win a place but did jump on the coach by local club Northampton Road Runners so that I could go down and support our club runners for the day.

Elite women at the London marathon

As much as I loved getting the opportunity to run at London marathon last year, the thing is, there are other marathons.  Other marathons that aren’t as crowded as London, where you won’t have to run 27.9 miles to make it over the finish line (yep, there was a lot of weaving out there, especially towards the end!)  Other marathons that won’t cost you as much as a family holiday and where you won’t feel so overwhelmed in the crowds.

So if you didn’t get in to VMLM16 either, choose another marathon to target and instead watch the race on the TV, or line the streets of London armed with Jelly Babies to support those that are pounding the streets.  Running a marathon is tough work, whoever you are.  Runners need all the cheering they can get!

I am never going to be a fast runner.  I was described as having a ‘lumbering style’ by a physio I saw once and I think that pretty much sums me up.  My stride is certainly never going to look like that of the elite runners pictured above!  I’m not sure that I am ever going to feel ‘accomplished’ at the marathon distance, despite 26.2 miles being my favourite event.  If I can’t succeed at speed, then I can definitely try my hardest at number.  I have run 9 marathons and 6 ultras, with a further two marathons and another ultra booked in before the end of the year.  I’ve mentioned before that I would love to one day become a member of the 100 marathon club, so maybe that should be my focus, and I should forget about the times.  When I stopped worrying over race times earlier in the year I managed to PB at quite a few of the shorter distances.  I want to better my times, but maybe this will come with more experience and more marathons under my belt and when I take the pressure off.

Have you run the London marathon before? – If not, would you like to?
What do you think about the change in ballot entry this year?
How many marathon+ distances can you imagine yourself running?

12 thoughts on “Rejected by the London Marathon

  1. It’s a shame, but like you say there are others. London marathon annoys me- I saw how much they charge charities for one. Also, it looks so crowded, it goes through some rubbish parts of London, and it just seems so stressful. I don’t think I would ever enter the ballot- I would much rather sign up to one and get a place right away- which I why I chose Stockholm and then Brighton. Plus I would rather run somewhere scenic and interesting- Berlin is on my list, and a Disney marathon for the fun of it (but they are never in the school holidays).
    I also think there is so much marathon fever- people see London on TV, get swept away with the hype- because they close the ballot so quickly people enter before properly thinking about it. And what a waste of money the magazine is- Andy entered but didn’t get in, and it was full of charity places, and old articles copied from old Runners Worlds and things, but how much does that add to the entry fee? As you can tell, I don’t like it!
    Maria @ runningcupcake recently posted…My 50th parkrun!My Profile

    1. I was actually a little surprised during the later miles (20,21ish?) when we appeared just to be running up and down roads to make up the extra miles. There wasn’t a lot to see and there wasn’t a great deal of support here compared to some of the other sections of the course.
      There’s a couple of marathons I would like to run but won’t be able to as they don’t fall in school holidays. :( Life of a teacher hey?!

  2. We keep failing with London ballots. We work for a charity – and we know we’ve no chance of getting a place via the charity either (that list is way full!). A Club place is probably my best bet – N might manage a GFA at Manchester.

    The only reason London’s on the list is that he wants to do the six majors…so if he gets in one year, then I will be trying to find a charity place to do it at the same time as him.
    Jane in London recently posted…Tomorrow I’ll go runningMy Profile

    1. I think it’s fantastic how much money is raised by charities at the London Marathon, but I’m not sure I could ever commit to raising the required £2000 or so for the place. I think that would stress me out more than the running of the marathon itself! Good luck to N at Manchester! :)

  3. I completely understand your annoyance with this. It’s not fair. I think they should scrap the GFA for London (despite it working in my favour). Why even have it, you know? Either have the balls to have a fully qualify-only entry system (like Boston – though they have charity places too, but probably not as many!) or just have the ballot system as fair game for everyone. It seems a bit ridiculous to do both in my opinion. It just seems a bit underhand to allow those fast enough to sneak under the rope. Especially as the majority of people entering London are doing their first marathon or first step into the world of running.
    Obviously I’d love to do London at some point as it is iconic but I can already see how much it’s going to stress me out with getting there and running it among all those crowds. That said, I’m sure it will be an emotional and fantastic experience. I just feel sorry for the people who have applied so many times and never got in.
    You are a FANTASTIC runner so please don’t do yourself a disservice by talking about speed. We can all do ourselves down if we compare ourselves to other runners. There are always faster runners out there. I admire you so much in what you can achieve. So what you might not get a GFA, but how many ultras and marathons have you done!? I’m beyond jealous of your ability.
    Anna @AnnaTheApple recently posted…Alfie’s first parkrun and some favourite thingsMy Profile

    1. Thanks for your kind words Anna. Means a lot. :) (Also beyond jealous of your speed though! 😛 )

      I think you’re right about London Marathon needing to have the balls to use a qualify-only entry system. I get the impression that currently they are trying their hardest to please everyone, but failing at it miserably! I think we will see the GFA times gradually slip more and more out of reach as more runners enter the ballot, and more runners achieve the qualifying times.

  4. I didn’t get a magazine or an email, I had to ring them and wait on hold for 20 mins to get through and be told no! I really didn’t like the ballot change this year, as it made the odds of getting in so much harder, I do think the system needs to be looked at. There’s always seventh time lucky though right?! I haven’t signed up for any marathons yet next year, although I am doing the SDW50, so will probably do some as training for that. What’s on your race calendar for next year?
    Lauren (@poweredbypb) recently posted…Sole Softec Response FootbedsMy Profile

    1. Oh really?! How awful that you received neither response.
      The Centurion races are supposed to be fab. Several from my club are running the 50 series next year, so look out for our green vests! I would love to run one of their 100s in the future, although need to improve my speed a bit first! I was also tempted by their 50s, but wasn’t on the ball enough to decide before entries opened.
      I don’t have anything in my race calendar for next year just yet. I’m going to wait until after Dusk ’til Dawn to plot my races for next year…watch this space!

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