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The 40th annual London Marathon will take place this Sunday and it is one of the world’s biggest distance-running events. It will take place on its traditional course and for the first time in its history, it will be held in October.
The London Marathon is one of the best and most famous marathons in the world as it offers a fine combination of a quick, smooth course and exceptional sideline support.
Due to its immense popularity, it can be difficult to obtain a place at the start line with only just over 40,000 spots available.
The easiest method to secure a place is through the ballot, which is only open for around five days each year. This usually takes place in late April or early May, but the pandemic has led to a rescheduled calendar with the event moving around.
The 2020 event was postponed until October and changed to a virtual event for the general public, and the 2021 race has followed suit to take place in the same month.
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The 2022 race was expected to return to its usual spring slot but organisers announced it will take place in the first Sunday of October to ensure it has the best chance of running as normal.
The proposed date for next year’s London Marathon is Sunday 2nd October.
According to information from the Supporter Guide section of the London Marathon 2021 app, the ballot for the 2022 edition will open on Sunday October 3 close Friday October 9.
There’s a link to enter the ballot on that page, although it currently takes you to a webpage about the app on the London Marathon website.
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The ballot will officially open shortly after – or even during – the race, when enthusiasm for the event is at its peak after thousands of people joyfully cross the finish line on Sunday.
Once signed up on the event’s website, you will have to pay an entry fee – £49 or £47 for club-affiliated runners in 2021. There was a £10 price increase for 2021, but the London Marathon is still relatively cheap for such an event. For example, the New York Marathon costs £262 for foreigners and £216 for American runners.
You are offered the chance between a refund or donating your entry fee if you do not get a place in the race.
If you are feeling particularly charitable, you are entered into the Lucky Bequest draw, which allocates another 2,000 places. Those that still miss out will get a training top to ensure they don’t get nothing at all.
The results are traditionally announced via email a few months after the draw is closed. Along with an email, you may even receive a magazine in the post that will either say “You’re In!” or “Sorry” on the front cover.
Do not be dispirited if you miss out on a place: for the 2020 London Marathon, a record 457,861 people entered, which was a substantial increase on the 414,168 who entered the 2019 ballot.
The number of runners who secure a place through the ballot is generally around 17,500, although these are rough figures as many competitors are given a place but don’t end up running. The organisers take this into account when awarding places.
If you miss out on a slot in the ballot, you can make it to the start line via a charity place. There is a list of charities which have guaranteed spots on the London Marathon website, so go to the charity’s own website to apply for one of its places.
There is another method of entry for particularly quick runners. The Good For Age entry method has provided 6,000 total spots since 2020, dividing such spots evenly between men and women who matched the qualifying times.
Good For Age places are allocated on a fastest-first basis and demand is expected to be high for 2022, so it might be worth checking out the charity spots first and foremost.
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