I know, a really weird thing to say right? Everyone knows the London marathon and every single year I get asked if I am going to try and run it and every year I say ‘maybe’ when I really know I won’t and lately I have had it in my head that I actually don’t think I want to run it at all. Here’s why:
The “ballot system”
I have applied for the London marathon a few times and each time I was unsuccessful, but as I (and a lot of others) have noticed, a lot of people who run marathons or run a hell of a lot are not successful year after year after year are not successful but more and more of the lucky 17,000 ballot winners are either first timers or people who did it for a giggle. Now I am not saying that they are skewing towards first-timers on purpose, but over the past few years on social media I have seen so many people sign up, get in with next to no running experience and then not even attend the race. Which for someone who loves running (possibly like yourself if you are reading this) is very frustrating to see.
Now I am not fully saying that only people who run a lot or run marathons should compete in this race, but I do think a certain amount should be allocated depending on experience and times. Hell, maybe they already do that on their system. I don’t know. But I would imagine there are a disappropriate amount of first timers getting into the race at the ballot section which is just odd to me. I would imagine that most first-timers to a marathon would venture towards the charity route as it is a big thing for them to be running a marathon. But again, this is all just conjecture and by even writing this I am probably aware I may never get into the race anyway! Ha, wait… Oh… Damn. An
It’s just too big for me
I have noticed when watching the London marathon and to a certain extent most big races that when you have in excess of 40,000 people running, that although the support from others will be amazing and push you harder, it looks like it is a little claustrophobic in there. I would not fancy running a race and have to keep my eyes down to make sure I wasn’t clipping or about to barge into someone. Running a race as if it is like the first mile is simply not appealing to me. Maybe it is because I am used to running in races with less than 5,000 runners so there is space to move to plot and chase etc.
Though I will concede it would possibly be like running in one big pacing group where you can chat and support each other when someone struggles, that really is the main thing stopping me from not running any large events.
The other way in which it is just too big for me now is that I found out that 414,000 people applied for the 17,000 spots in the ballot that is I think less than 7% chance. I mean it is probably a good route n all… I have actually asked others in the UKRUNCHAT group what their opinions are on what makes it special to keep trying for so expect a post about that next Sunday. Sunday runday and all of that!
Do it for Charity
When I ran my first marathon my neighbours were so lovely and asked if I had run for a charity and I had to sheepishly say no. I then got given money to give to charity as it was “amazing that I did it” So ever since I have been dabbling with the idea of running a marathon for a charity or doing something big for a charity.
But, while I want to support a charity and do well for the world while doing something I love, I do not think I can really say that I am okay with trying to raise a minimum of £2000 for me just running a marathon especially when it is something I do multiple times a year. That may seem a bit harsh or braggy, but if I am asking money to compete in a race I want it to be for something special. Not just for one thing, I have mentioned my friend Leigh before who did a years’ worth of events for charity and I think that is something I would be more inclined to do, to try and raise a larger number. Would a London marathon be in that? Possibly, but the charity would have to accept that I am raising for the whole year and that would be when they receive the money. I saw a charity actually increase their minimum sponsorship amount after the results came in, which is a little underhanded if you ask me. I am rambling a little bit I know but as I said it seems a lot of money to raise for just one race, especially when other major marathons have their charity numbers far lower and more achievable (for me) totals set as their minimum sponsorships.
The overall costs
To get in is around £40, for me to go I will need to fly over, I would like to bring my girlfriend with me and then I would want to make the most of my time there, so I could potentially fly over on Friday or Thursday night and leave on Monday, that is at least £400 being shelled out to compete in a marathon. Which is only across a little sea. A hell of a lot to save for in my opinion and then there is general food and other touristy things to do when in London and soon that price skyrockets all the more, just because I want to go for a run with my mate Mo Farah.
I will leave it there I think, I want to reiterate, that I am not being negative about the race or the organisers or even the charities, I just see a few things that make me second guess on running it. But I have asked a number of runners their reasons for doing London and why they would do it again, so expect that post next Sunday and then another about alternatives to the race if you didn’t get in or get a charity spot! Until next time.