11 Oct

Are you in or out?

action from London Marathon

In or out? It’s the big discussion on social media. And no, it’s not Brexit. Not even hotter topics like the okey-cokey or your bellybutton. It’s the London Marathon ballot

Did you make the cut? Or were you one of tens of thousands of disappointed would-be marathoners who received a commiserations message? This year, an incredible 414,000 applied to be on the startline next April.

It is a record for what has become a truly global event since it launched in 1981. Club runners, joggers and bucket list tickers were all poised on Monday to find out whether they were in or out via the post or email.

Of course, the vast majority were disappointed. With around 40,000 places available and a larges chunk going to charities, clubs and 'good for age' runners, there is a much less than 1 in 10 chance. I’ve heard the conspiracy theories from disgruntled runners who have continually missed out year after year.

And when a distant relative of mine, based in Blackheath who was in her 60s got in first time, I began to sympathise with their plight. Yet, the organisers insist on their website: “It is a totally random ballot with no weighting - just like the draw for the National Lottery.”  

So, for the lucky few who have made it, the elation of a place. And – particularly - for those first-timers, a dawning realisation of long runs through the cold winter months.

For the disappointed, then there is the initial low, followed by a reassessment of plans. Will they try another spring marathon or does it have to be London no matter what?

All whilst race organisers from Brighton, Manchester, even Edinburgh Marathons are circling above vulture-like, looking to pick off London’s leftovers.

I am lucky enough to have run London three times. There’s no point pretending otherwise, it is an incredible event, an unforgettable experience that lives with you forever. But that’s not to say there is no less joy in the other marathons around the UK and beyond.

There are some truly superb marathons on our doorsteps. So whether you are an ‘in’ or an ‘out’, don’t do anything rash, stick with it, get stuck in and make sure next spring is a memorable one.