London Marathon 2021: event date, when are the ballot results out, and what happens if I don’t get a place?

Those who are unsuccessful in the ballot will be given an early bird access window to register for the virtual event

By Chelsea Rocks
Monday, 8th February 2021, 11:15 am

2021 is a year in which many runners will be hopeful they can return to the track and secure their place in the Virgin Money London Marathon, which snakes 26.2 miles around the UK capital.

The annual event is broadcast around the country and is the most popular and competitive race of its kind in the UK.

However, the 2020 race was cancelled and racers were forced to defer their entries - making this year all the more exciting and highly anticipated.

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The UK's Joshua Griffiths competed in the Elite Men’s race at the 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon around St. James's Park on October 04, which was a closed event for only professional athletes. (Picture: Pool/Getty Images)

A record 50,000 runners will secure a place at the event, with a further 50,000 places available for the virtual event.

So, who will get the chance to run in 2021 and when is the race? This is everything we know about the LondonMarathon and what to expect on the day.

When is the London Marathon 2021?

The event is scheduled to take place on Sunday 3 October 2021, which is a change from when it is usually held, in April.

Who will be running in the marathon?

As the event is so popular around the world, a ballot result decides who will take part.

Those who entered the ballot system in 2020 will find out if they have secured a place in the coveted race on Monday 8 February.

The ballot will be announced via email on week commencing 8 February.

Ballot entries for this year opened on Sunday 4 October and closed at 5pm on Friday 9 October 2020.

Those who have secured a good for age place or championship runner place may have been informed already.

What are the official charities for the 2021 London Marathon?

Each year, charities with gold and silver bonds with the marathon are awarded places for fundraisers to run on the basis that they will raise a certain amount of money for the charities.

Gold member charities are designated five places, while silver members get three places.

These charities then select runners who have applied to take part for them to raise money for the charity in return for a place at the marathon.

Different charities have different fundraising requirements, and fundraisers may still need to pay an entry fee.

This year, there are dozens of official Virgin Money marathon charity partners, including Stroke, Sense, Breast Cancer Now, The Children's Society, Sparks and NSPCC, Mind, Anthony Nolan, Mencap and many more.

If you secure a place in the marathon through other means, such as the ballot, you can still run for a charity and it does not need to be one listed on the marathon’s list.

What are the safety precautions for runners and spectators?

All participants will be emailed final Instructions in the build-up to the day of the London Marathon.

There have yet to be any announcements about what the race could look like, but event organisers are keen to see the postponed marathon go ahead.

In 2020, the event was first postponed until autumn 2020 due to the Covid pandemic, before being cancelled altogether - except for a closed event which professional athletes completed on 4 October 2020.

At the time of the marathon’s initial postponement last year, event director Hugh Brasher announced: “The flame is still burning. And is there hope? Absolutely. But you have to do what’s right for society.”

Therefore, it is assumed that the race will go ahead - but only if government guidelines can be met and runners and spectators can safely take part.

I did not secure a place, can I take part in another way?

If you are a member of the British Athletics Club, you can apply via your racing club when the application process opens in March 2021.

If you would like to take part but did not secure a ballot, charity or Athletics Club place, the Virgin Money organisers have also included a virtual option to take part this year.

This option was also available in 2020, and over 37,000 runners took part from around the world.

The final finishing total of 37,966 means it has been awarded an official Guinness World Records title for the 'Most users to run a remote marathon in 24 hours'.

This year, the marathon is aiming for 50,000 virtual entries. Unsuccessful ballot applicants will have an exclusive window from Monday 8 February to Tuesday 16 February to enter the virtual event.

Following this, general entries will open on Tuesday 16 February, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Entries for people residing in the UK will cost £28, an additional £10 will be charged for non-UK residents for postage and packaging.

The event will be held on the same day as the real event (3 October) and participants will be able to take part at any time for a 24 hour window on this day.

All finishers will receive their running numbers before the event and their coveted official finisher medal and T-shirt post event. The Official Virgin Money London Marathon App, will allow participants to log their 26.2 miles, earn their medal and receive a New Balance finisher T-shirt.