There is no doubting that the pinnacle of distance running for most is the London marathon. The world’s best take to the streets of London to race for the title, which also includes a huge field of club and charity runners, on top of the elite runners. 2020 has been one of great difficulty, with most races cancelled due to the pandemic. 

However, we did get to see the professionals take on the race in 2020, with defending champion Eliud Kipchoge heading in as the overwhelming favourite. The sites reviewed by the experts of had him available at a general 1/12 going into the race and it appeared his to lose with key challenger Kenenisa Bekele dropping out of the race due to injury. Kipchoge entered as the world record holder and aiming for his record breaking fifth London marathon title. However, he failed to fire on the day finishing eighth and lost just his second race at the distance in his career. Shura Kitata ran out the winner in a time of 2:05:41, in what was a very exciting race, that included an incredible finish.

This has further added to the popularity around the race with more and more people now wanting to take part in the future, as the race is one to tick off the bucket list. So how can you take part in this great race?

  • The London Marathon Ballot

One of the most popular ways to get into the race is through the ballot. The race continues to see an increase in the number of people applying for this, which is further backing up the notion of just how popular the London marathon has become for runners. 2020 for example saw over 457,000 people apply, with only 17,000 places up for grabs. It is completely random, so certainly worth chancing your luck each year.

  • Charity Places

Another very popular method of getting into the race and what is so important for charities around the world is the London marathon charity places. There are around 15,000 places available, with participants having to raise £2000 on average but this can be a little lower for smaller charities. It is now one of the biggest fundraising events in the world each year.

  • Running club places

There are many different British Athletic affiliated clubs, and each can apply for places for runners in their teams. There is usually around 1,000 places available, with clubs having just one or two places given to them, so they must then decide on those who will race. If you are not part of a club at present, then this is yet another positive and reason to do so.

  • Good for Age places

Another option that is only available for UK residents in this international event is through running fast and good for age places. These do continue to change each year, based on average time of races. As expected, this is continuing to increase year on year, as times are getting faster, with shoes and other technology for example playing a minor role in this. There are 6,000 places available that are split equally for both the men’s and women’s races. The times that were needed for the 2020 London marathon changed based on age. For 18-39 year olds for example, sub 3:00 is required for Men, with sub 3:45 for Women. This then increases to sub 3:05 for Men aged between 40-44 and sub 3:50 for Women in the same aged group. The times then increase further as the age groups rise.

  • Other options

The options above are the most popular and easiest way to get into this famous race. There are still also another few options, so as by acquiring Championship places. These are for very good runners, with Men needing to have run a sub 2:45 marathon and sub 1:15 half marathon. Women will then need to have ran a sub 3:15 marathon and a sub 1:30 half marathon. Another option can be through a competition, with a number of them taking place in the run up to the event.

These are the main ways to get into the London marathon. So, if this is something you are looking to do, then fingers cross you can get on that start line in the near future.