These FAQs aim to answer the majority of questions asked by runners, charities and supporters.
2021 Virgin Money London Marathon
Q: When does the ballot for the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon open?
The public ballot online entry system for the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon is now closed. The ballot opened on Sunday 4 October and was available for six days, until 17:00 on Friday 9 October.
All those who entered the ballot will find out whether or not they have been successful in early January 2021.
If you have a disability and require assistance with the online entry process, please contact our Customer Services team and we will be happy to help you complete your entry.
Q: How is the ballot drawn?
It is a totally random ballot with no weighting – just like the draw for the National Lottery.
Q: When do I pay my entry fee?
All applicants who have been successful in the ballot and offered a provisional place in the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will be sent a link to pay the entry fee within the timescales advised when the ballot results are announced in early January 2021.
Applicants who chose to bequeath their entry fee to The London Marathon Charitable Trust and are then successful in the ballot do not need to make any further payment to secure their place.
Q: Why don’t you still operate the scheme where you get a place if you’ve been unsuccessful for five years?
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 other options for gaining entry in 2021?
There are a number of ways to enter the Virgin Money London Marathon.
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, Instagram and Facebook to be in with a chance to win.
Q: How old must I be on Marathon Day?
You must be 18 years old or over.
Q: My friend/family member is now unable to run; can I use their entry?
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 provide in the registration process includes your next of kin and emergency contact information. First aid crews on the course provide details of those who 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?
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 39 years, we can predict the number of runners who will be at the Start Line each year.
Q: I am now unable to run – what do I do?
You need to notify as soon as possible by withdrawing from the event. A number of entry types are eligible to defer to the following year and further details on this, and withdrawing, will be available soon.
Q: How can I increase my chances of gaining an entry through the ballot?
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 2,000 places. Applicants who do not get a place in either ballot are sent an exclusive training top to thank them for their generosity of bequeathing their entry fee. They will also be entered into a competition to win some fantastic prizes.
Bequests are an important part of our own fundraising. Every year, London Marathon Events passes its surplus to The London Marathon Charitable Trust which awards grants to projects in London, Surrey and across the UK that help people become or remain active.
Q: Can I have a refund for my bequest, as I was not successful in the ballot?
No, it is not possible to refund a bequeathed entry fee. You made the decision to bequest your entry fee during the entry process and this meant you were entered in the Lucky Bequest second draw and an exclusive top 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?
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: I have moved. How do I let you know my change of address?
Please contact us with confirmation of what details are changing. Our Helpdesk team will then confirm once the change has been made.
Q: Can I have a Guide/Support Runner?
If you have a confirmed place and require a Guide or Support Runner, please contact us and we can advise further.
Q: Can I participate on my handcycle?
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.
Q: Is it possible for a new charity to apply for places in the Virgin Money London Marathon?
We hold a Charity Ballot for charities that do not have Golden or Silver Bonds to apply for entries. Each charity that is successful in the ballot receives one entry.
Q: What is the closing date for completion of charity entries?
The closing date for the completion of all charity entries on the entry console for the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon will be announced in due course.
Q: Can a charity transfer a charity entry to another runner?
A charity may transfer a charity entry to another runner prior to the closing date of the entry consoles. 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.