How to get into the London Marathon


How to get into the London Marathon

  • 10 ways to get into the London Marathon – updated to 11 ways from November 2022
  • How to get into London Marathon 2023 and future years


London Marathon – ways to get in

How to get into the London Marathon

How to get into the London Marathon – summary & intro

I’ve run around 50 marathons, including around 20 Londons, so I’m often asked how to get in.

Summary
There’s more than one way to get into the London Marathon. Here are 10 ways.
They aren’t all easy & get harder as you go 1-11.

The number of runners who start on the day, from all entry methods, is usually around 40,000. Sadly there are always those who have to drop out from illness or injury. However they can defer their places (see 10 below).  To enter by any method, the youngest you can be is 18 on the day.

 

10 ways to get into the London Marathon

Most of us know about the famous London Marathon ballot. But by my calculation, there are around 10 ways to get a place in the London Marathon, just not all easy.

But they are worth a look and I hope they help you get in.  I’ve got in by 5 methods (1, 2, 4, 5 and 10) before and know people who’ve got in by each of the 10 examples.

International runner entry options are listed below.

So here are 10 ways you can get in, starting from the easiest and getting harder:

How to get into London Marathon

1. The London Marathon ballot

Most people apply to get in through the ballot. Every year a new record number apply, with 457,861 entering the ballot for the 2020 London Marathon. The ballot is completely random, and around 17,000 people get in, so give it a go and don’t just assume you won’t be chosen.

If you’re not selected, there is no waiting list, so you will need to go for another option, with number 2 Charity, being the most popular.

If you’ve got a ballot place, you can still raise money for charity. You just save the charity money as they haven’t had to buy a place for you. You can still register with your charity for marathon support, race shirts and whatever else they are offering to help their marathon runners.

You can enter the ballot as UK or overseas runners. (International runners also see below).

LONDON MARATHON BALLOT DATES

The ballot usually opens straight after the marathon. In a ‘normal year’ this is in April, opening on the Sunday of the marathon and closing the Friday after.

For 2023 entry, the London Marathon Ballot was open from Saturday 1 October 2022 until 21:00 GMT on Friday 7 October 2022. Ballot results will be announced on 24 October 2022.

For 2024 entry, expect the ballot to be around Sunday 23 April 2023 to Friday 28 April 2023.

LONDON MARATHON BALLOT ENTRY COSTS

2023 London Marathon entry costs are UK: £49.99.
International runners: £120, plus a £26 carbon offset levy.

2. Charity places

Charities buy what are called ‘Golden Bond’ places from the London Marathon. There are around 15,000 available.

Because they have to pay for these guaranteed places, the charities will set a minimum fundraising amount they expect you to raise in return.

The amount varies by charity. £2,000 is fairly standard, although smaller charities may ask for less than this.

To see if a charity you’d like to run for has places, have a look here. 

3. Running club places


UK residents only. British Athletic affiliated clubs can apply for places, although only around 1,000 are available in total.

Clubs then make their own processes for deciding who gets their 1 or 2 places. Many do a ballot and often link it to how much racing and /or volunteering members have done for the club.

If you’re a UK runner in a UK club, check if they’ve got places and how to get them (most clubs have a Contact link). If you’re not in a club, this could be another reason to join.

4. Running fast – Good For Age Places


For UK residents only (you need to prove your residency plus your age). It’s also worth keeping an eye on the times year on year, as they do change in line with how fast people are running. As with many other marathons, the times are tending to get a little faster every year. The qualifying times get slower as your age goes up.

There are 6,000 Good For Age places, split equally between men and women. Note this isn’t guaranteed entry. Places will be allocated on a ‘fastest first’ basis. 

So even if you get the time, others in your age group may submit faster times, meaning you don’t get a place. For this reason, it’s a good idea to enter the Ballot (option 1) as back up, especially if you’re near the cut off time.

For 2022, the London Marathon said if you are successful in obtaining a GFA entry, your ballot application will be withdrawn, so it’s worth doing both. They haven’t specified this explicitly for 2023 but advise you to enter the ballot if your qualifying time is within 10 minutes of the Good For Age qualifying time.

The times you need (achieved between 4 October 2021 and 23:59 2 October 2022) to qualify for London Marathon 2023 are

AGEMEN WOMEN
 18-39sub 3:00:00sub 3:45:00
 40-44sub 3:05:00sub 3:50:00
 45-49sub 3:10:00sub 3:53:00
 50-54sub 3:15:00sub 4:00:00
 55-59sub 3:20:00 sub 4:05:00
 60-64sub 3:45:00sub 4:30:00
 65-69sub 4:00:00sub 5:00:00
 70-74sub 5:00:00sub 6:00:00
 75-79sub 5:15:00sub 6:20:00
 80+sub 5:30:00sub 7:10:00 
Good For Age Qualifying Times for London Marathon 2023


Good For Age applications usually open in early August ahead of the next marathon in April.

For 2023, the Good For Age application process closed at 17:00 GMT on Friday 7 October 2022

There’s more info on GFA plus you can enter when it’s open here.

5. Running faster – Championship Places

(This is the usual way I get in every year.)

You need to be a UK resident and member of an athletics club associated with British Athletics and have a championship-qualifying performance for a marathon or half marathon.

For London Marathon 2023, Championship qualifying times are as below (unchanged from 2022).

MenWomen
Full marathonsub 2:40:00sub 3:14:00
Half marathonsub 1:12:30sub 1:28:00
Championship Qualifying Times for London Marathon 2022

Applications usually open in November and close in January. 

The Championship qualifying period for the 2023 London Marathon is qualifying races run between 1 January 2022 and 31 Dec 2022. Championship entries will open by the end of Wednesday 30 November 2022. The closing date has not yet been announced.

London Marathon Championship start

6. Competitions


Keep your eye out for competitions to win places. The best places to look are the race organisers, running magazines or sponsors associated with the race eg Flora or Lucozade Sport.

I usually put links to these on Art Of Your Success social media when I spot them.

Example of a past London Marathon entry competition

7. Being linked to a sponsor


Sponsor organisations linked to the marathon have a small number of places that people working for them are eligible to apply for.

8. Celebrity Places


There’s probably still time to get yourself known and make it onto some kind of Celeb Z list! You’ll then get to start alongside all the ‘real’ celebs along with their better loos at the Green Start!

9. Running really fast – Elite Places


If you’re this fast, you’ll know how to enter, or maybe your agent will do it for you.  But for the rest of us, we can agree that anyone running this fast deserves the fewer than 100 elite places!

It’s usually in the range of
Men Sub 2.18.00 Marathon or Sub 1.05:00 Half Marathon
Women Sub 2.38:00 Marathon or Sub 1.14:00 Half Marathon

Elite Wheelchair and Para entry is here.

10. Deferring your place


If you got a place and are then ill or injured, you can defer your place to the next year. You can usually do this up to the day before the marathon.

Note that it’s only the place that is carried over, and you still have to pay the entry fee again the next year.

However, there are a couple of key exceptions where you cannot defer:

You can’t defer Good For Age or Championship places, as these are based on time-limited qualification times.

If you got your place through a charity, competition or sponsor, the place goes back to the organisation that gave it to you. So you would need to contact whoever gave you your place to discuss.

You can read more on deferring here.

11. Lottery via Abbot for Six Star Participants *NEW FROM NOVEMBER 2022*


Abbot have 500 places for London Marathon 2023 for Six Star Majors runners who have already earned 3, 4 or 5 stars.

Eligibility – you will need a profile with Abbot and to have registered this many stars with them.

Abbot will contact eligible runners on December 5 2022. The deadline for entry will be December 12 2022.

See Abbot’s draw for London places here.

 


ENTRY FOR INTERNATIONAL RUNNERS INTO THE LONDON MARATHON

Entry for ‘international runners’ who live outside the UK is via methods 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 10, 11 above.

Time qualifications by methods 3, 4, 5 are for UK residents only.

International runners can also enter via agreed tour companies for their country.  You can see the approved list here.


 

Choosing a different marathon

If none of those methods work for you, how about a different marathon? There are lots in the UK (you can search Runner’s World events or see a list of alternative UK marathons), Europe or further afield, around the same time as London, (like Boston the week before London), so you can still train and enjoy the London build up at the same time.

Good luck and don’t give up if you can’t get into London, run in another great place and London will be there for you another year.

Useful London Marathon links on Art Of Your Success

Marathon training tips
Marathon preparation tips and products
London Marathon related cards & gifts
Gifts and cards to help celebrate marathon successes
Pacing products to help hit your goal time


Comments – please read before posting

You are welcome to comment below. Please take a moment to read the post in full before asking a question, as comments already covered above may not be answered.

Please be aware I am not affiliated to the London Marathon and cannot give out places or special dispensation. This post is purely to help you understand the options available.


About Art Of Your Success

Sarah is the athlete and artist behind Art Of Your Success. She is a marathon runner with a PB of 2:55, and a few silly Guinness world records. She also loves cycling, and has biked the whole Tour de France route. Sarah enjoys using her experience to make products to help motivate and celebrate your training and racing.

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59 thoughts on “How to get into the London Marathon

  • Katie Coleman

    Hello, do you know when the dates for qualifying for good for age for 2024 will be available? I’ve emailed the organisers a few times and they suggest checking the website but I’m keen to find out as soon as I can. Thinking of doing Newport or Manchester on 16th April 2023 with a view to getting into London for 2024 – but is this date too early? Any advice much appreciated. Thanks!

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Katie, it’s good question, as the timing has got quite out of sync with the last couple of years running London in Oct instead of April, and now with only 6 months between 2022 and 2023 events. Plus it’s moved from Virgin to TCS. So I expect the pattern to properly restart after April.

      Normally I would expect 2024 GFA times to be run from 22 April 2022-23 April 2023, but there has been this first ever time of having the last London in October 2022. So it could well be 3 Oct 2022 – 23 April 2023. I don’t know if they’ll extend it to a year April-April.



      Either way, I would say it’s a reasonable assumption that Newport/ Manchester early April 2023 would work (if you want flatter, do Manchester btw!) But I have to T&C myself a bit and say this is my best estimate, I don’t work for London Marathon and this is an unprecedented Oct – April gap.



      So I would enter, but also as they say, keep your eyes posted for their update too.

      

Most of all, very best of luck with the GFA!
Sarah

  • raul

    Hola buenas,
    Muchas gracias por el post muy interesante. Me gustaria preguntar una duda tu que tienes experriencia en este maratón. Le ha tocado el sorteo a una amiga mia que echo una papeleta a su nombre para ver si le tocaba y darmela a mi. Deseo participar por ella, unicamente quiero hacer el maratón para disfrutar. Habria algun problema para acceder a los cajones el dia de la carrera? para recoger el dorsal puede recogerlo cualquier persona con autorización. Muchas gracias!

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hola Raul, responderé en inglés a continuación para que otros puedan ver la respuesta y sugerirle que use una herramienta de traducción.

      Hi Raul, I will answer in English below so others can see the reply & suggest you use a translation tool.
      I understand why you’re asking but the London Marathon rules are very clear that they do not allow this:

      My friend/family member is now unable to run. Can I use their entry?
      Places in the TCS London Marathon are not transferable under any circumstances. Anyone attempting to run using another person’s entry will be disqualified and banned for life from the London Marathon and all other events organised by London Marathon Events Ltd.

      See here on their site for this response.
      Good luck to you and your friend running London Marathon in future.
      Sarah

  • Armenio Anjos

    Hello,
    I’m 65 years old and just ran an Half Marathon in 1:51:14 (September 11, 2022), which I think is a qualifying time for London Marathon.
    Can I still apply for the London Marathon in 2023 or do I need to wait for 2024?
    Thank you very much.

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Armenio, congratulations on your Half Marathon time!
      Good For Age Qualification is only from Full Marathon time (sub 4 hours for 65-69 Men). To use a Half Marathon time, you would need sub 1:12:30 to enter the Championship.
      I’d suggest you read the full post, focusing on ‘Normal Process‘ for 2023, as it’s worth spending a few minutes to understand the ways to get in and the time periods. Plus if you live in UK or outside of UK, I have set out the different options. Good luck! Sarah

  • David Pearson

    I have bone marrow cancer and am due a hip replacement soon, my cancer cannot be cured just managed, I need a reason to run, the marathon would be a good reason
    I am no longer a young man and am getting through my bucket list but need help
    How do I get a marathon place
    Regards
    David Pearson

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi, yes you will be able to, this hasn’t been announced or opened yet. As in my post above,

      …the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced. I would estimate that the London Marathon 2023 Ballot will open around 3 October 2022.

      You can also read more on the ballot in the post above here see ‘1.The London Marathon ballot’

      Good luck, Sarah

  • John Monaghan

    Hi there, wanting to enter GFA application process for 23rd April 2023, says it starts 9th June (today), but can’t see we’re the ballott is to enter to put my details in, can you please help
    Many Thanks
    John

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Christian, yes on the ballot date for 2023 we are waiting to hear, as I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section:

      For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

      I’m sure you won’t miss it, and I will update here as soon as it’s announced.
      Good luck! Sarah

  • nikky

    I would like to enter ballot for London Marathon 2023 and as per your messege this should now be open but I can’t find it anywhere.. any advice please?

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Nikky, I don’t know more than I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section, but as I say there, I will update as soon as we know more:

      For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

      I’m sure you won’t miss it, and I will update here as soon as it’s announced.
      Good luck! Sarah

  • James Roberts

    Can you not apply for 2023 Good for Age places with your 2022 time? I am running the race this year, aiming to go sub-3hr and I’m very surprised I can not then use this as a qualifying race for the London 2023. That would be a little frustrating!

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Jørn, good luck with the ballot, on the date for this, as I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section, :

      For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

      For how to access it when it’s open, see How to get into London – normal process, point 1- ballot

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Yang, on the lottery date for 2023 we are waiting to hear, as I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section, :

      For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

      For how to access it the lottery when it’s open, see How to get into London – normal process, point 1- ballot. When you go to the link, there will be a button for ‘International runners’.

      For all options for non-UK runners, you can see international entry options on this post her.

  • Margaret Wilson

    When will the ballot results be announced for the 2023 London marathon? I am going to give the ballot another go this year.

    • Karen Figiel

      Hi
      When can you enter the ballot for the 2023 London marathon, I thought it was this week, but cannot find any info on it

      • Art Of Your Success Post author

        Hi Karen, it would be good to know wouldn’t it?! I don’t know more than I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section, but as I say there, I will update as soon as I know more:

        For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

  • Mary Goodacre

    I would like to run the April 2023 London Marathon . I would like to use my good for age time from October 3 2021. I feel that this should be allowed
    Thank you

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Mary, I’m sympathetic to that. You could try petitioning London Marathon but sadly I don’t think they’ll change it. The qualifying period for 2022 has also been too short, given that there have been very few opportunities to gain qualifying times in 2020 or 2021. All the best with getting your place. Sarah

  • Robert Neville Jolliffe

    Hi there….When do the ballots open for the London Marathon 2022?
    How do I get in touch with different charities?

    Thanks,

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Robert, London Marathon 2022 Ballot is expected to be Sunday 3rd – Friday 9th October 2021.
      To get in touch with the charities, go to the link at 2. Charity Places in this post – that way you can see which charities have places. Then you’d need to contact each one individually.
      Hope that helps – good luck getting in!
      Sarah

  • Gareth Rush

    Hi there I won’t to do the London marathon in 2022 for charity cause I lost my daughter to epilepsy 12 years ago and I’ve always wanted to do 1 for her and for epilepsy in kids to help I’m also ex military and got medically discharged so I would like to run for help the heroes to if I could.

    • Art Of Your Success Post author

      Hi Gareth, I hope you get to run London 2022. Running for such special charities would make it extra special for you. You can always run for both and split the sponsorship. Good luck with getting your place, training and fundraising! Sarah

      • Art Of Your Success Post author

        Hi Lisa, it would be good to know wouldn’t it?! I don’t know more than I’ve written in the post above in the 2023 entry section, but as I say there, I will update as soon as I know more:

        For 2023 entry, a planned ‘normal year’ pattern with the marathon in April, the ballot would usually be open from Sunday 23 April 2022 – Friday 28 April 2022. But the marathon is changing from October in 2022 to April in 2023, so there has been no precedent for this in the marathon’s history, and this post will update as soon as any information comes out. The official date has not yet been announced.

    • James Roberts

      Hi Gareth. I don’t know whether you’ll see this reply, as it is so long after your comment, however I want to say how incredible your desire is. I have epilepsy myself and I’m a 19 year old competitive racer, training to run London 2022 in under 3-hrs this year. I am so sorry for your loss, epilepsy is a very complicated disease, but your daughter is now at peace. I also thank you for your brave service for our military forces. I hope that you can be proud finishing a marathon, you are clearly running for such meaningful and inspirational causes. Thank you x