It is that time of year again, when the first week of October delivers the highs of running the Cardiff Half Marathon, and the uncertainty of finding out if you have been offered a London Marathon ballot place.
For the past 7 years I have entered the ballot, only to join a club that only runners know about – The London Marathon Rejection Club.
For those that do not know the process, in May, roughly a week after the London Marathon has taken place that year, the public ballot will open for the following year. The current process involves a ballot being open for 5 days, with the general public being able to put their name forward for the race. Then in October, a magazine will fall on your doormat indicating one of two messages:
· Congratulations, you are in
· Sorry, better luck next time
Each year, we hear on social media or via text messages that fellow runners and club members have started to receive their magazine in the post, and the anticipation and excitement begins. This year, as a veteran of 7 rejection magazines, I wasn’t holding out much hope, although you do secretly wish for that ‘congratulations’ magazine. I rushed home on the Monday after seeing Twitter updates from runners all day, only to find an empty mat. Tuesday followed a similar pattern with only bills greeting me as I opened the door. Then on Wednesday, I finally received my magazine, and I continue to be part of the exclusive Rejection Club.
The ballot for the 2018 race saw a record 386,050 people enter, which was an increase of 29% from the sign up for the 2017 race (253,930 people). In previous years, there have been roughly 17,000 ballot places (unsure of the 2018 number presently) so it translates to roughly a 23 in 1 chance of getting a ballot place. Although it does seems a lot higher than that, considering I hardly know anyone who secured a place this year.
I am fortunate that I get a second chance of a marathon place through our running club’s affiliation to Welsh Athletes. As part of a small running club in Cardiff (Village Vipers) we have one place each year for members. So I will wait until our Christmas Party in December where the club place is balloted for all affiliated members who were rejected.
But considering I am a 6 year rejection veteran of that process too, I think I’m better off finding a marathon I am guaranteed to be accepted in. A new marathon for Wales (in Newport) has just been announced so perhaps I need to consider this instead……………………….