London Marathon Ballot Is Open Until Friday—Here’s How To Enter

Runners at the finish line on The Mall. The TCS London Marathon on Sunday 2nd October 2022.
(Image credit: Jon Buckle for London Marathon Events)

The London Marathon is one of the best marathons in the world, offering a winning combination of a quick course and truly exceptional sideline support. As a result, competition to get one of the more than 40,000 spots available in the race is always fierce. Everyone wants to run the London Marathon.

Unless you’ve chalked up a particularly quick marathon time in the past year, the easiest way to get a place is through the ballot, which is open for around a week each year. Since 2022 the ballot for the following year's race has opened the day before the current year's race.

Enter the London Marathon 2024 ballot at Let’s Do This >>

Everything You Need To Know About The London Marathon Ballot

What is the London Marathon ballot?

The London Marathon ballot allocates paid-for places in the mass-participation race.

You enter your application along with thousands of other hopefuls. After the entry window closes, a number of people are randomly chosen and will receive a place in the London Marathon.

If you are successful, you will be given a limited amount of time to pay and secure your place in the race.

When is the London Marathon ballot?

The ballot for the 2025 race opens Saturday April 20, 2024 and closes on Friday April 26, 2024. The exact opening and closing times for the ballot haven’t been confirmed yet, but last year it opened at 9am and shut at 9pm.

When is the 2025 London Marathon?

The TCS London Marathon 2025 will take place on Sunday April 27. 

When are the results of the London Marathon ballot 2025 announced?

The London Marathon organizers will email the results of the ballot to all participants in July 2024.

How much does the London Marathon ballot cost?

A London Marathon ballot place costs £69.99, or £67 for club-affiliated runners. 

You don’t have to pay the entry fee when you enter the ballot, but you can choose to pay a non-refundable entry fee upfront. The advantages of doing this are that the entry fee is reduced to £49.99 and that if you are unsuccessful in the ballot you are automatically placed in a second draw. If you strike out in both ballots, the money is donated to the London Marathon Foundation and you receive a training top worth £60.

Although the price has risen for general entry (unless you pay the lower price when entering the ballot), a London Marathon place is relatively cheap. The New York Marathon, for example, costs $358 (£293) for foreigners and $295 (£241) for US residents, and there are even a few 10K and half marathon races in London that cost more than this prestigious marathon.

There is an international ballot for the London Marathon 2024. If you get a place through that, it costs £120 plus a £26 carbon offset fee to take into account extra travel for international participants.

What are the chances of getting a ballot place in the London Marathon?

The organizers of the London Marathon don’t give the exact number of places that are allocated by the ballot, but it’s believed to be around 17,000-20,000 of the 40,000-plus total spots. 

A record 578,374 people entered the ballot for the 2024 London Marathon, with 457,105 of those entering the UK ballot, so you can see straight away the odds aren’t in your favor. 

Is there a second ballot for the London Marathon?

There is a second ballot for the London Marathon, which is available to anyone who entered the first ballot and opted to donate their entry fee if they were unsuccessful. It’s an extra incentive to encourage people to pay the non-refundable £49.99 entry fee when they enter the ballot, rather than entering for free and only paying if they get a spot. 

The second ballot is also drawn completely at random, but the number of people who are in it with you will be much lower than the original ballot. The organizers don’t say how many spots are available in the second ballot, but if you can afford the £50 fee it’s worth an extra roll of the dice, especially as your fee goes to charity and you get a free winter running top if you do miss out in both ballots.

Can I defer a London Marathon place?

Whether you can defer your London Marathon place, and how long for, depends on a number of factors. However, most entrants can defer their place for at least one year.

If you enter via the ballot or through your running club then you can defer your entry for a year using the online participant dashboard. You’ll still need to pay for your place in the following year’s race to secure a spot, and can’t defer for more than one year (with the exception of if you are pregnant or postpartum). International entrants can also defer their place for one year.

Whether you can defer a charity place is up to the charity involved, so you will have to discuss it with them. You can’t defer the place via the London Marathon system.

If you had a place in the London Marathon via Good For Age or Championship entry, which is based on running a qualifying time, you cannot defer your place, unless you are pregnant or postpartum.

The London Marathon made some welcome changes to deferrals for pregnant and postpartum people in 2022. You can now defer for up to three years in this situation, and this goes for those who have a Good For Age or Championship place as well, so you don’t have to run the qualifying time again.

Other Ways Of Securing A London Marathon Place

How can you apply for a charity place?

How can you qualify for Good For Age entry?

Speedy runners can also get into the race via Good For Age entry. Since 2020 this entry method has provided 6,000 total spots divided evenly between men and women who achieve the age-graded qualifying times. Bear in mind that Good For Age places are allocated on a fastest-first basis so if you’ve just squeaked under the qualifying time it’s worth looking into a charity spot too. Our guide lists the current London Marathon Good For Age qualifying times.

How can you qualify for a Championship place?

Championship places for the 2023 race closed on Friday 6th January. Male applicants had to log a sub-2hr 40min marathon time while female applicants had to log a sub-3hr 14min time. Further stipulations, such as being a member of a running club, can be found in our guide to London Marathon Championship entry.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.

With contributions from