Everything You Need To Know About The London Marathon Ballot 2019


If you’re keen to have a crack at next year’s London Marathon your options for getting a place are starting to thin out. The public ballot ran from 30th April to 4th May, with the results expected in October. If you missed out on that, you will now need to hunt down a charity place or, if you are particularly speedy, a Good For Age or Championship place.

When it comes to nabbing a Good For Age spot, you will need to move fast, because you can only apply for a place between 1st and 10th August. You will also have to meet the criteria for entry, more details on which can be found below.

When is the 2019 London Marathon?

The 2019 London Marathon will take place on 28th April.

How can you enter?

The public ballot for a race place runs for just five days each year. That opportunity has now passed, as the ballot closed on 4th May. In the past the results of the ballot have been sent out in October, usually in the form of a magazine with a special “You’re In” or “You’re Out” cover. If you get the latter you get the chance to read all about the amazing event you will not be a part of.

How much does the ballot cost?

If you are successful in the ballot you will be awarded a provisional place in the race and sent a link to pay the £39 entry fee (£35 for club-affiliated runners, or £80 if you’re an overseas runner). Pay this quick-smart to avoid losing your spot.

When you entered you could also choose to pay the fee up front and bequeath it to the London Marathon Charitable Trust. If you get a spot, this will pay for your place, but if you don’t the money will go to the charity. The benefits of this approach are not only the warm fuzzy feeling of donating money even if you don’t win a race place, but entry to a second-chance ballot. This Lucky Bequest draw allocates another 1,000 places. And if you miss out there you get a training top, which will probably be marked with the London Marathon 2019 logo so you are reminded of missing out on the race every time you wear it.

Bear in mind that a London Marathon ballot place is incredibly cheap for such a big event – the New York Marathon, for example, costs $358 (around £253) for foreigners and $295 (£208) for Americans – and there are even a few 10K and half marathon races in London that cost more.

What are the odds of getting a place through the ballot?

It’s worth noting that the chances of getting a place through the ballot aren’t great. For 2019’s race a record 414,168 people entered, including 347,876 from the UK – a substantial increase on the 386,050 people who entered the previous year’s ballot. The number of runners who secure a place through the ballot is generally around 17,500 (the final numbers are approximate because many people are given a place but don’t end up running, something the organisers take into account when awarding places).

Are there other ways to get a place in the 2019 London Marathon?

If you’re unsuccessful with the ballot you can always apply for a charity place or, if you’re an especially speedy runner, a Good For Age spot. For men aged 18-40 you will need to have run a sub-3hr marathon since 1st January 2017 to be in with a chance, while women in the 18-40 age group need to have run a sub-3hr 45min marathon. If you fancy you can run that time but haven’t yet, you’ll need to log it in an eligible marathon before 10th August 2018 to enter the 2019 London Marathon via a Good For Age place.

Bear in mind that having an eligible time no longer guarantees a Good For Age place in the London Marathon. There’s an allocation of 3,000 places for men and 3,000 for women, and if there are too many applications the places will go to faster runners as a priority, with the qualifying time reduced evenly across the different age categories until just 3,000 of each gender remain.

If you have the required time for your age you will have to apply for a Good For Age spot between 1st August 2018 and 4pm on 10th August 2018. Miss the window and you can’t claim a spot, even if you’ve achieved an eligible time. To apply for a Good For Age spot you’ll need proof of your time. You can link to online race results or upload a race certificate if you have one.

A final note for the really very speedy runners out there. If you’re a man who has run a sub-2hr 45min marathon or a sub-1hr 15min half marathon, or a woman who has run a sub-3hr 15min marathon or sub-1hr 30min half marathon, and are a member of a athletics club associated with British Athletics you can apply for Championship Entry to the London Marathon.

What to do right now

Fast runners should be applying for a Good For Age spot. People who have entered the ballot should be crossing their fingers. Everyone else should be getting in touch with charities to ask if they have any spots going. Good luck all!