Event Info



  • Q. When does the ballot for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon open?
    A. The public ballot entry system for the 2017 race is now closed. The ballot opened on Monday 2 May and closed five days later at 17:00 on Friday 6 May 2016.
  • Q. When do I find out if I have secured a place through the ballot?
    A. All applicants should have heard the outcome of their ballot entry by Monday 17 October. Everyone from the UK who gains a place in the ballot is sent the Congratulations magazine. A random selection of approximately half of unsuccessful applicants will be sent the Commiserations magazine and the remainder will be sent an e-zine version. Overseas applicants will be contacted via email.
  • Q. What should I do if I haven’t received my ballot result?
    A. From 0800 on Tuesday 18 October our helpdesk will be open for telephone enquiries about the ballot results. If you have not heard from us by then, please contact our helpdesk team on 020 7902 0200.

    The helpdesk may be very busy at peak times (for example over lunchtime) so please be patient.
  • Q. How is the ballot drawn?
    A. It is a totally random ballot with no weighting - just like the draw for the National Lottery.
  • Q. When do I pay?
    A. All applicants who have been successful in the ballot and offered a provisional place in the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon were sent a link to pay the entry fee. The entry fee had to be paid by 17:00 on Monday 14 November. If this deadline was not met, the place in the 2017 event was lost.

    Applicants who chose to bequeath their entry fee to The London Marathon Charitable Trust and were then successful in the ballot do not need to make any further payment to secure their place.
  • Q. Why is the ballot now open for five days?
    The popularity of the London Marathon had meant that the online application system for the ballot, previously capped at 125,000 entries, had been closing in a shorter timespan each year and was projected to fill in less than eight hours for the 2016 event.

    Many people were unable to enter for previous ballots due to religious holidays, shift work, family commitments and many other reasons. The decision was made to keep the ballot application system open for five days for the 2016 event. Extending the entry window meant that everyone who would have liked to enter had a fair chance to do so. In particular, it gave more time for new runners, who may have been inspired by watching the race on TV, to apply. The same system has been used for 2017.
  • Q. Why was I not successful?
    A. The ballot is a totally random draw – just like the draw for the National Lottery – and your name was not drawn.
  • Q. How many people entered the ballot this year and what was the chance of gaining a place?
    A. A record total of 253,930 people entered the ballot for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon. We accept a total of more than 50,000 runners as we can predict, after 36 years, almost exactly what proportion of entrants will drop out due to illness, injury or other reasons before Race Day.
  • Q. Why have I been unsuccessful again? My friend has been accepted every year.
    A. We sympathise. It is a totally random ballot with no weighting whatsoever, just like the National Lottery. Your friend has been very lucky!
  • Q. Why don’t you still operate the scheme where you get a place if you’ve been unsuccessful for five successive years?
    A. Put simply, the numbers were so big it became mathematically impossible. The scheme ended in 2010 as it was becoming impossible to offer a guaranteed entry to everyone who had applied unsuccessfully in the ballot for five successive years. This was a scheme offered by us, the organisers, and not by a sponsor.
  • Q. What are my next options for gaining an entry in 2017?
    A. You can still gain an entry for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon by running for a charity. There is a full listing of charities with places to fill on our website here. Please contact the charities direct to find out their fundraising requirements.

    All athletics clubs that are affiliated to British Athletics can apply for places. The closing date for applications was 17:00 on Monday 28 November 2016. It is the club secretary's responsibility to ensure runners are entered and registration is complete by 17:00 on Monday 16 January 2017.

    Runners who have achieved the appropriate qualifying times can apply for a Championship entry place. The closing date for applications is 17:00 on Monday 9 January. If successful, the runner will then need to complete an online registration form by 17:00 on Monday 23 January 2017.

    Finally, every year a small number of places are offered through competitions on our social media channels and those of some sponsors and partners so make sure you follow us on Twitter and Facebook to be in with a chance to win.
  • Q. How old must I be on Race Day?
    A. You must be 18 years old or over on Sunday 23 April 2017.
  • Q. My friend/family member is unable to run but has a place; can I run using their entry?
    A. Places in the Virgin Money London Marathon are not transferable under any circumstances - see Conditions of Entry.

    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.

    Number swapping is strictly prohibited for a number of reasons, the most important of which is the danger and confusion it can cause in the event of an incident on the route. The information you provided in the registration process included your next of kin and emergency contact information. First aid crews on the course provide details of those that have had to drop out of the race, those receiving medical attention, including their location, and if they have been taken to a hospital. In the event of a serious incident, we contact the named next of kin and emergency contact. If your place is being used by someone else, then the emergency services and medical professionals waste valuable time and your action might cause great distress and concern to your closest friends/family.
  • Q. What happens to the places when people drop out of the Virgin Money London Marathon? Is there a waiting list?
    A. We do not operate a waiting list. The number of entries that we accept each year is calculated carefully in the knowledge that a certain percentage of runners will drop out. This percentage is very consistent year on year and, after 36 years, we can predict (usually to within one per cent) the number of runners who will line up at the Start each year.
  • Q. I am ill, injured or unable to run – what do I do?
    A. If you gained your place via the public ballot and have paid your entry fee, you may defer your place for one year (not more) by following the instructions in the magazine you were sent. The full process is also outlined on our website.

    If you correctly follow the process to defer your ballot place, this means you do not have to go through the public ballot system for 2018. Please note that in order to guarantee your place for 2018, you must meet the deadlines and pay the entry fee for 2018.

    Only places gained through the public ballot may be deferred and this is only for one year. Places from a charity go back to a charity and places won in a competition may not be deferred under any circumstances.
  • Q. Are there any restrictions to carrying my entry over to 2018?
    A. Yes. Entries gained in the ballot (not entries allocated by a charity, a sponsor or won in a competition) may only be carried over for one year. Therefore if you have already carried over your entry from the 2016 event to 2017, you may not carry it over again to the 2018 event.

    If you were allocated your place by a charity or a sponsor or if you won your place in a competition, it is not possible to carry the entry over to 2018.
  • Q. How can I increase my chances of gaining an entry through the ballot next year?
    A. It is a totally random ballot with no weighting.

    During the entry process, applicants are asked if they would like to bequeath their entry fee to the London Marathon Charitable Trust if they are not successful in the ballot.

    All applicants who opt to bequeath their entry fee and do not get a place in the initial ballot are then entered into the Lucky Bequest draw which, again, is a random draw.  This offers another 1,000 places. Applicants who do not get a place in either ballot are then sent a training top in the size they requested during the entry process.

    Bequests are an important part of our own fundraising. All of our profits go to The London Marathon Charitable Trust and are used to support recreational facilities in the areas where London Marathon Events organises events. Please visit www.lmct.org.uk to read about the work of The London Marathon Charitable Trust and thank you for your support.
  • Q. Can I have a refund for my bequest, as I was not successful in the ballot?
    A. No, it is not possible to refund a bequeathed entry fee. You made the decision to opt to bequest your entry fee during the entry process and this meant you were entered in the Lucky Bequest second draw and a garment was ordered and made for you. The terms and conditions that you accepted during the entry process clearly state that no refunds are given.
  • Q. How many people gained a place through the ballot this year?
    A. We do not disclose details of the ballot process for any of our events as this is commercially sensitive information. The number of places available through the ballot varies each year depending on the number of runners who qualify for Good for Age places and the number of entries that are deferred from the previous year.
  • Q. Why did I not get a magazine and my friend did?
    A. All applicants who were accepted for 2017 through the ballot were sent a magazine. Approximately 50 per cent of unsuccessful applicants, including all those that bequested their money to the London Marathon Charitable Trust, were sent a magazine and the remainder were sent the e-zine. If you would like a magazine, please contact the helpdesk on 0207 902 0200 and we will send you one (subject to availability).
  • Q. I have moved. How do I let you know my change of address?
    A. Please email changeofaddress@londonmarathonevents.co.uk with your name, date of birth, telephone number, old address and your new address. Your address details will then be changed in our system and a confirmation will be emailed to you when this has been done. Please do not call the helpdesk with changes of address as these can only be processed by email.
  • Q. Which start will I be on?
    A. You will be sent information about which start you are on with the Final Instructions materials. These will be sent to you in March 2017.
  • Q. Can I change my start to be with my partner/friend/etc?
    A. No, unfortunately this is not possible. The number of runners on each start is carefully calculated and it is therefore not possible to move runners from one start to another. Please note there are marshals on each start to check that runners are on the correct start.

    If you wish to run with someone who is starting on a different start, we suggest you meet up at a pre-arranged point on the course. The three different starts merge just before the three mile point, so the first Lucozade station at five miles is an easy meeting point.
  • Q. I need a hotel in London for the weekend of the race – any advice?
    A. Holiday Inn is the Official Hotel partner for the Virgin Money London Marathon, please visit the Holiday Inn website www.ihg.com or call 0871 423 4896 to find out more.
  • Q. I am a visually impaired runner. Where can I find out more about running with a guide?
    A. If you are a runner with a visual impairment who has been successful in the ballot and would like to find out more about running with a guide, please contact disability@londonmarathonevents.co.uk
  • Q. Can I participate in my handcycle?
    A. No, this is not possible. The Virgin Money London Marathon is run under British Athletics, World Para Athletics and IAAF rules which clearly state that the marathon is an athletics event and only a recognised racing wheelchair or day chair is permitted. No mechanical gears are permitted on the chair. There are handcycle events in Prudential RideLondon which is held in July 2017 (see www.prudentialridelondon.co.uk/events/grand-prix/ ) If you would more information, please contact disability@londonmarathonevents.co.uk


  • Q. Where do I collect my running number?
    A. All runners must collect their running number and registration pack from the Virgin Money London Marathon Exhibition at ExCeL London, 1 Western Gateway, Royal Victoria Dock, London E16 1XL.

    Entry to the Virgin Money London Marathon Exhibition is free for all – friends, family and running companions are all welcome. All the major athletics brands will be present, alongside a variety of exhibitors showing and selling everything from retro headbands to the latest GPS devices. There will also be an opportunity to buy the latest souvenir and technical clothing ranges from the Virgin Money London Marathon Superstore.

    You can take on board expert advice at the London Marathon Virgin Money Lounge, where there will be a full programme of informative presentations and entertainment. Previous guests have included former world record holders Wilson Kipsang and Haile Gebrselassie, BBC TV presenter Sophie Raworth and Olympic gold medallists Katherine Grainger, Anna Watkins and James Cracknell.

    The exhibition is held at ExCeL London, the biggest and best venue in the country, with easy access on Docklands Light Railway. The show attracts 70,000 visitors every year, with 15,000 visitors each weekday and 25,000 on Saturday.
  • Q. When is the Virgin Money London Marathon Exhibition?
    A. The Exhibition will run from 19-22 April and will be open at the following times:
    • Wednesday 19 April 11:00-20:00
    • Thursday 20 April 10:00-20:00
    • Friday 21 April 10:00-20:00
    • Saturday 22 April 09:00-17:00
    Please note that registration desks shut promptly at 17:00 the day before Race Day and it is not possible, under any circumstances, to collect running numbers after that time.
  • Q. What do I need to bring with me?
    A. You must bring your registration letter (these are sent out in March) plus valid ID with your photograph (eg valid passport or driving licence with photograph) with you to collect your running number.

    If your passport is out-of-date or you have an old-style driving licence with no photograph, then please bring another form of photographic ID together with your signed bank card and a recent utility bill (no more than three months old) for your registered address.

    You will be asked to sign the declaration on your registration form in front of the Registration Clerk and provide the photographic ID mentioned above. With your number and kitbag you will also be given a set of final instructions. Please read them carefully.
  • Q. What will happen if I don’t get to registration before in time?
    A. Registration closes promptly at 17:00 on Saturday 22 April. No running numbers will be issued after that time under any circumstances.

    We strongly suggest that you allow plenty of time to collect your running number. Failure to collect your running number means you will not be able to run in the Virgin Money London Marathon.
  • Q. Can I arrange for someone else to register for me?
    A. Yes, you can nominate someone to collect your number for you. The person you nominate must have the following with them when they attend registration:
    A letter written and signed by you authorising the person by name to collect your running number

    The person collecting your number must have suitable photographic identification with them

    If these instructions are not followed, the running number will not be issued.

    Please note an individual may only collect ONE running number in addition to their own.
  • Q. I am bringing a coach party of runners to registration. Where can we park the coach?
    A. There are parking facilities at ExCeL. You can either pre-book parking at www.excel-london.co.uk or turn up on the day and pay.


  • Q. How do I know what to do on Race Day?
    A. A Final Instructions magazine with full details of everything you need to know will be sent to you in the post in late March. This will include information about collecting your running number and registration pack, getting to the start and final preparations.

    A condensed version of the Final Instructions is available to download below.

    2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Final Instructions (PDF)

  • Q. What time does the race start?
    A. The official start times for 2016 Virgin Money London Marathon were as follows:
    • 08:55 – Para World Athletics Marathon World Cup in association with the Virgin Money London Marathon elite wheelchair race
    • 09:00 – Para World Athletics Marathon World Cup (ambulant athletes)
    • 09:15 – Virgin Money London Marathon for Elite Women 
    • 10:00 – Elite Men and the British Athletics and England Athletics Championships for Men and Women and the Virgin Money London Marathon Mass Start
  • Q. What time do I need to get to the start?
    A. We suggest you get to your allocated start (Blue, Green or Red) at least one hour before the race begins. This will allow time for you to put your kitbag on the baggage lorries, use the facilities, warm up and take your position in the start pens.
  • Q. Which Start Area should I use?
    You should have received a registration form, which shows your running number which you will collect from registration at the Virgin Money London Marathon Expo. The running numbers correspond to the Start Areas as follows:
    • 401 to 1900: Blue Start
    • 1901 to 24400: Blue Start
    • 59901 to 63200: Blue Start
    • 24401 to 31350: Green Start
    • 31351 to 34000: Red Start
    • 34001 to 59900: Red Start
    Please note: Only Good For Age runners with running numbers 31351 to 59900 should use the Red Start. All other Good For Age competitors should use the Start Area corresponding to their running number.
  • Q. What are the nearest stations to the different starts?
    A. Blue Start: Train to Blackheath Station, 15-20 minutes walk to the Blue Start.
    Red Start: Train to Maze Hill or Greenwich Station, 20 minutes walk to the Red Start.
    Green Start: Train to Maze Hill Station, 15-20 minutes walk to the Green Start.

    There are marshals at the exits from all stations and on the routes to the Start assembly areas.
  • Q. How many pacers are there and where do I find them?
    A. We work with Runner’s World magazine to provide pacer runners on the Red, Blue and Green Starts.

    Usually, these pacer runners will pace as follows:

    For more information, please visit www.runnersworld.co.uk/pacing
    • 6:52-minute miles (predicted time: 2 hours 59 minutes)
    • 7:26-minute miles (predicted time: 3 hours 15 minutes)
    • 8-minute miles (predicted time: 3 hours 30 minutes)
    • 8:35-minute miles (predicted time: 3 hours 45 minutes)
    • 9-minute miles (predicted time: 3 hours 56 minutes)
    • 9:43-minute miles (predicted time: 4 hours 15 minutes)
    • 10:18-minute miles (predicted time: 4 hours 30 minutes)
    • 10:52-minute miles (predicted time: 4 hours 45 minutes)
    • 11:22-minute miles (predicted time: 4 hours 58)
    • Run/walk pace (predicted time: 5 hours 20 minutes). Please note the Run/Walk pacers are only present on the Red and Blue Starts and not on the Green Start.
  • Q.What flavours of Lucozade Sport are available during the race?
    A. Orange flavour Lucozade Sport will be available in 380ml bottles.

    This will be available at five Drinks Stations along the course at Mile 5, 10, 15, 19 and 23.

    Lucozade Sport Carbo Gels are available at Miles 14 and 21.5.
  • Q. What other drinks are available on the course and where?
    A. 250ml bottles of Buxton Natural Mineral Water are offered at every mile from Mile 3 through to 25 Miles.
  • Q. Where are the toilets and showers along the course?
    A. Toilets are available at all the starts, at Mile 1 then every two miles along the course up to and including 24 miles.

    Showers will be located at the following points: just before Mile 9, Mile 13, Mile 17, Mile 22 and at Mile 23.5.


  • Q. How can I meet up with friends/relatives after the race?
    A. You should decide on the time and place to meet based on your predicted finish time.

    Please remember that it can take up to 40 minutes from the time the runner has crossed the Finish Line for the runner to collect their medal, finisher’s bag, kitbag and exit the secure area at the finish.

    A good place to meet close to the finish is in Horse Guards Parade where there are meeting areas for each letter of the alphabet, clearly signed A to Z. Please pre-arrange the letter you will meet at.

    Please do not leave the point where you have arranged to meet your runner if they are not there at the expected time. They may have been delayed coming through the finish area.

    Do not rely on mobile phones in the finish area as it is often impossible to get a signal due to the number of phones in operation in the confined area. It is recommended that you agree to use a third party’s landline number as a back-up number on the day.
  • Q. Where can I park near the finish?
    A. There is no public parking near the finish. It is strongly recommended that you use public transport.


  • Q. I want to watch the race – what advice can you give me?
    A. There is lots of advice on the Spectator Information section of our website: http://www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com/en-gb/event-info/spectator-info/

    You can also download our official Spectator Guide to find out the best way to watch the race, what’s on where and other useful information.
  • Q. Can I track a runner during the race?
    A. Yes. On Race Day, there will be a link to our tracking service on the home page of www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com
    The best way to track a runner is by using the runner’s running number. If you do not have the running number, it is also possible to search for a runner by surname.
  • Q. Is there any entertainment on the course?
    A. Yes, there are bands and other entertainment all along the course. Please check our official Spectator Guide (available on www.virginmoneylondonmarathon.com in early April) for full details.
  • Q. Where are the best places for someone in a wheelchair to watch the race?
    A. We suggest that disabled spectators watch the race on The Highway. The race passes along this road twice – firstly between mile 13 and mile 14 and then between miles 21 and 22.

    The Virgin Money London Marathon has a free, secure, dedicated parking area in the playground of the Bishop Challoner School (E1 0LB). Access to the School is via Commercial Road, Devonport Street, Cable Street and Hardinge Street (please note that Commercial Road remains open throughout the day). From the car park, it is a level walk of approx 300m via Glamis Road to The Highway. At Glamis Road, there is a subway under The Highway with ramps on both sides, which enables access to good viewing points on both sides of the Marathon course.

    We strongly recommend that you arrive at The Highway early to get a good viewing position. The Highway closes to traffic at 08:00 and the area is busy with spectators by 09:30.
  • Q. Can I watch the Virgin Money London Marathon on television?
    A. Yes. BBC TV will be broadcasting live coverage and highlights of the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday 23 April. There will also be live coverage on BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Radio London. Please check schedules for details.


  • Q. Is it possible for a new charity to apply for places in the Virgin Money London Marathon?
    A. The waiting list for the charities for the Golden and Silver Bond Scheme is now closed. We hold a Charity Ballot for charities that do not have Golden or Silver Bonds to apply for entries. Each charity successful in the ballot receives one entry.

    The Charity Ballot for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon is now closed.
  • Q. What is the closing date for completion of charity entries?
    A. The closing date for the completion of all charity entries on the entry console for the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon was 17:00 on Friday 10 June 2016.
  • Q. Can a charity transfer a charity entry to another runner?
    A. A charity may transfer a charity entry to another runner prior to the closing date. Before this date, a charity may delete the original runner from the entry console and allocate the running number to another participant.

    It is not possible to transfer a charity entry after the closing date under any circumstances.
  • Q. Can a charity move a runner to a different start?
    A. No, unfortunately this is not possible. The number of runners on each start is carefully calculated and it is therefore not possible to move runners from one start to another. Please note there are marshals on each start to check that runners are on the correct start.

    If a runner wishes to run with someone who is starting on a different start, we suggest the runners meet up at a pre-arranged point on the course. The three different starts merge just before the three mile point, so the first Lucozade station at five miles is an easy meeting point.
  • Q. How can I apply to be Charity of the Year?
    A. If your charity is interested in applying to become Charity of the Year, please email vmlm@virginmoney.com and information will be sent to you.

    These FAQs aim to answer the majority of questions asked by runners, charities and spectators. If your question is not covered by these FAQs, please contact the Virgin Money London Marathon helpdesk on 020 7902 0200. The helpdesk can be very busy so please be patient and your call will be answered as soon as possible.