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Looking Ahead to the 2011 London Marathon

BY Boon Koh
Published 25 April 2010

Although the 2010 Virgin London Marathon has just finished barely a few hours ago, its time to reset the metaphorical clock and look forward to the 2011 London Marathon! Here, we present a guide and tips to entering next year’s marathon, and all the complete information that you will need to secure your place on the starting line come 2011.

Recap of the 2010 London Marathon

This year was quite the year of change, with Flora dropping out as the key sponsor and Virgin taking over, and thereby for the next few years the competition will now be called the Virgin London Marathon. Notable celebrities who took part this year include Sir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group and the entrepreneur best known for setting up Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Money.

We also saw an appearance by Princess Beatrice, the first from the royal family to ever compete in the London Marathon. The singer Natalie Imbruglia was also present, however celebrity Katie Price pulled out of the London Marathon in the last minute, and gossip websites were quick to circulate pregnancy rumours as to the reason for her withdrawal.

In the end, the men’s winner was Olympic bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede from Ethiopia, who won in two hours, five minutes, and 18 seconds. He beat Emmanuel Mutai from Kenya, who came in second place and trailed only by about a minute and 4 seconds behind the winner.

The women’s race was won by Lilliya Shobukhova from Russia, who also won last year’s Chicago marathon and set a new personal best record of 2 hours and 22 minutes. Another Russian, Inga Abitova, came in 2nd place.

In the London Wheelchair Marathon titles, Josh Cassidy from Canada took the men’s, while Wakako Tsuchida from Japan took the women’s title.

How many runners took part in the London Marathon this year? Estimates are around 36,000. Many runners who took part did so for charity fund-raising, with some estimates being over 80% of runners are running to support a cause. For most, the race was not so much a competitive event but more fun, with some in fancy dress costume like Superman or Spiderman!

Applying for a place in next year’s 2011 London Marathon

The public ballot for a spot in next year’s London Marathon starting line will be opening in a couple of days time, and as always there will probably be more applicants than there are places. For the 2010 Marathon that just passed, over 125,000 applications were received, and there would have been more if they had not closed the applications then. The date for the 2011 Virgin London Marathon has not been announced as of yet though.

For those who applied for the 2009 and 2010 London Marathon via public ballot but failed to get a place, they will be offered the chance to pre-register ahead of the general public, and a special email link for the pre-registration would have been sent the week commencing April 19th 2010.  The public ballot will open on Tuesday May 4th 2010, and will close immediately once there are 125,000 applications. While the exact time the application website is open is unknown, last year it took a couple of days before the magical 125,000 number was reached, so I can safely guess that this year there should be a 24-48 hour window to apply for a spot in next year’s marathon. The coveted entry slots for 2011 will not be assigned on a first come first serve basis, but by random balloting.

For those outside the UK, the international ballot will also open on Tuesday May 4th 2010. Both the UK ballot and the international ballot entry website will be on the official Virgin London Marathon website.

If you fail to get a place in next year’s London Marathon, there is always the Edinburgh and the Brighton Marathons, which are not as big as the London one and have more places available. In addition, there are marathons in most European countries, with the Paris and Berlin ones quite popular, but even for those it is much easier to get one of the 35,000-40,000 spots available for the general public. New York’s Marathon is another option, and is balloted too, but everyone gets at least a guaranteed place in the half marathon.

If you fancy yourself as more of a professional runner or a very good amateur runner, there are other was of getting a “ticket” into the London marathon, without having to go through the public ballot. These routes, however, probably involve lots of taking part in marathon, half marathon, or other running competitions throughout the year. One sure-fire way of getting into the London Marathon will be to win a gold medal at the Olympic Games!

Did you run in this year’s marathon? Got your marathon medal? Or planning to run in next year’s 2011 London Marathon? We want to hear your story and thoughts… leave a comment below!

Article written by Boon Koh.

  • rachel

    I run between 30-40 miles per week but after spending yesterday morning watching other people run, I am so desperate to get a place in the 2011 London Marathon. Will this mean sitting at my computer from midnight onwards on the 4th of May? (which I am more than prepared to do if it means having a chance to experience something AMAZING) Any tips would be most welcome.

    Thank you and good luck to all others who will be applying!

  • scott mcmeekin

    Ran on Sunday, first ever marathon, was initially wantng to “get a good time of under 4 hrs”, however realised this was of secondary importance at the start line – quite emotional and decided to stay with my friend, helped him thru the hard times, crowd were phemonenal, such good support, ended up finishing at exactly same time, 4hrs 32mins. They say run your first, race your second, exactly my intention!!

    Re the above, I want to know too…..was running for charity this year but too much to ask of folks every year, going for ballot next year what time does it start?

  • David Pinder

    Ran on Sunday. Was such an awesome day. First ever marathon as well. Was very nervous up until the day as I wasnt very well prepared, and am not the best runner, however managed to complete it in 4 hours 33 minutes.

    Had a fantastic day. The support from the crowd and my mates was awesome. Thats what gets you through.

    If I can do the London Marathon and get a good time like that, anyone can. You don’t have to be good at running, you just need to train. Even if you think you can’t run at all at the moment, just start off with something small like half a mile or a quarter and build it up.

    Im so desperate to do the London Marathon again next year, and will be applying as soon as the ballot opens.

    With regards to the above comments, as it says in the text the system will close when 125000 have been received, its not on a first come first serve basis, so just do it as early as you can.

  • http://www.lexiamedia.co.uk/ Sophie

    We are looking for people who ran the London Marathon in 2010 and who plan to run again this year. Also, were you treated by St John Ambulance? We are supporting St John Ambulance London and would love to interview you. You would be helping out a great charity. Please contact Sophie at sophie@lexiamedia.co.uk. Thank you!