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Here’s how to enter the 2020 London Marathon

Here’s how to enter the 2020 London Marathon
Ian Walton for Virgin Money London Marathon

You’ve spent your Sunday watching thousands of runners whiz past you on their way to ticking off 26.2 miles around the capital and now you want a slice of the London Marathon action. Don’t dust off your singlet just yet, though. Here’s everything you need to know about entering.

The ballot opens in early May…

The exact date is still TBC but once the ballot opens, you’ll have five days to decide whether to take the plunge. The 2019 ballot opened eight days after the 2018 race, so we’re going to guess that the 2020 edition’s ballot will open sometime around May 6. You can find out more on the London Marathon website. More than 400,000 entered the 2019 ballot, with only 17,500-ish spaces up for grabs, so it’s a real lucky dip! 

…But you won’t know if you’re in until October

That means you’ve got five months to convince yourself entering the marathon is a brilliant idea – or talk yourself out of it. Whatever the case, you’ve got nothing to worry about as you won’t need to pay the entry fee (last year it was £39) unless you accept. Oh, and it’s worth remembering that you need to be 18 years old on race day to take part. 

Can’t get a ballot place? You can always run for charity

Because everyone and their dog wants to run the marathon, ballot places are like gold dust. If your ballot application is unsuccessful, charities usually have a bunch of places ready and waiting. You’ll just need to commit to raising a minimum amount. 

There is another way to get a place (but there’s a catch) 

Speedy types who can nail a qualifying time at another running event can enter a ballot for a Good for Age place. It’s applicable for any race you’ve run within the last two years, but the deadline for these applications is usually the end of June. If you can make the qualifying time for your age and gender (which will be pretty damn quick), you don’t need to bother with the main ballot. Find out more here.

Keep an eye on the London Marathon website for more info.

Want to find out more about the big race? Check out our essential London Marathon guide.



Samy J

The entry fee is payable upon submitting to the ballot.

Wether you know or not If you got a place for the marathon

Peter P

Good for age entry changed last year. You enter the ballot and then register your time in early August. There is a limit of 3,000 each men and women; if one of these is exceeded, those closest to the qualifying time will have to hope for a ballot place.