It’s that time of year when we start to eagerly anticipate the results of the London Marathon ballot. In just two weeks time, magazines will start dropping through letterboxes or emails into inboxes and we’ll know whether we are in or not. Spoiler, most of us won’t be.
Yep. Sucks, doesn’t it? However, there are other ways of running London. Qualify as a good for age (naaaaaah), run for a charity, or enter every competition going into you win a place. The last one worked for me to get a place in 2015 – true story!
Once you’ve got over the bitterness and disappointment (spoiler, the bitterness never completely goes), if the above options don’t work for you, there are other marathons out there. Don’t let you plans for a spring marathon be thwarted by not doing London. I know it sucks when you’ve got your heart set on a race, believe me, I set my heart on London every year, but there are alternatives.
So how do you know which one to choose? Consider the following before making your decision.
Do you live near to your chosen marathon? If you don’t, will it be easy to travel to? If you need to stay overnight, are all the hotels booked? In 2015, I had planned to do Brighton as well as London. I’d originally planned to travel down in the morning on an early train, but numbers had to be collected from expo, which meant that I’d need to go down the day before. Then all the hotels were booked. As it happened, I ended up not running due to injury, but the logistics would have been a pain in the neck!
If you’re considering a big city marathon like Manchester or Brighton, you may want to stop to consider costs. You may factor in £50-80 for a hotel the night before, but often the prices are hiked when a popular event is on. A golden example of this is a 3 star hotel in Brighton who hiked their price for a single room the night before the marathon up to £280. For a single room with a shared bathroom. Excluding breakfast. Other hotels keep sensible rates, but say you have to book for two nights. So this might be something to consider.
Have a look at routes, read race reviews and think about the sort of race you want to do. 26.2 miles is a long way – some people like A to B routes, others are happy to do laps. I can highly recommend the marathons run (no pun intended) by SVN as low-key and super friendly, with epic goody bags and medals. However, some can find laps to be dull. Others hate city running but enjoy going off-road. Think about what’s the most fun for you.
Good luck if you’re in the London ballot and I hope you get a place. If not, will you be running an alternative? Let me know which!