How To Get A Charity Place For The London Marathon 2019
Ever since the London Marathon ballot stopped capping entries at 125,000 people and remained open for five days, the number of people throwing their hat into the ring for a race place has grown every year. Unfortunately the number of actual places available through the ballot has stayed the same, with the result being that the ballot disappoints far more runners than it delights every year.
A record-breaking 414,168 people entered the ballot for the 2019 race, with 347,876 from the UK – a sizeable jump on last year’s 327,516. You can expect another increase and more records to be set in the ballot for the 2020 race, which means there will be more runners than ever who miss out and have to find another route to the start line.
For most that means a charity place. Getting a charity spot at the marathon is arguably the most rewarding way of all to complete the 42.2km and it’s a far more reliable method of obtaining a place than simply entering the ballot.
That said, you will have to move quickly, especially if you wait to apply for a charity place until after the results of the ballot come out in the first week of October, because there will be a lot of people who have the same idea.
If you want to apply for a charity spot and already have a cause that’s close to your heart, have a look at that charity’s website to see if it is accepting applications for places in the London Marathon 2019. If you don’t already have a cause in mind, then you can visit the London Marathon website to see a list of charities that have guaranteed places in the race.
Each charity’s website will have details of how to apply and what it expects from its runners. Charities have to pay for the places, so bear in mind you’ll be required to bring in a fairly large amount of sponsorship money if you are given a place – around £2,000 is typical. This will probably not be a voluntary target, which means you’ll be asked to make up any shortfall yourself.
You don’t just get a race place though. The charity will offer plenty of support for both your marathon training and fundraising, and on the day itself you’ll have your own dedicated cheer squads looking out for your organisation’s vest.
Most charities will let you know by the end of 2018 whether or not you have been successful in applying for a place so you can start training in good time for the event. You can apply to more than one charity to boost your chances of getting a place, but it’s best to stick to ones that you have a genuine connection with.
That’s because although you have a better chance of getting a charity place than one through the ballot, charities are also oversubscribed. They will generally choose their runners based on the connection they have to the cause and an estimation of how much the runner will be able to raise. If you have taken part in other events to raise money for a charity in the past, that might help your chances.
If you’re fortunate enough to get a place in the London Marathon through the ballot you can still fundraise for a charity. In this case you won’t face the mandatory fundraising targets – your goals will be voluntary and the charity won’t have to deduct the race fees from your total. You’ll still get excellent support from the charity and you’ll also be using your spot to raise money for a good cause. It’s a win-win.