London Marathon

I didn’t tell anyone this, but I put in for the London Marathon lottery last March… along with James… and along with my father-in-law Alan, who lives in the UK… with the drawing to be held in October.  Possibly a fun family event and get together in April, in London, amiright?

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Alan at Sandringham

Alan ran the London Marathon in the early 1990s, setting a personal record with a sub-3-hour marathon time.  He was the first to hear from them on Monday… rejected.  If he’s interested, he can still get a bib through his running club, or he can qualify with a sub-5-hour marathon as he is 70 and a citizen of the UK.  Oh… yeah… right… he could also join a charity and start fundraising for £1500 or so.

And by the way… yes… you read that right.  I entered the lottery as well.  For the marathon. Twenty-six point two miles.  26.2.  My first marathon, to be completed in April, after I turn 50. But I got this:

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I was rejected.  However, notice the last paragraph… if I use one of their worldwide “tour”companies, I could still obtain a bib… thousands of dollars later.

For the last 3 months, I’ve been receiving emails from London saying stuff like, “we notice you haven’t signed up with a charity yet,” or “guaranteed entry, check out these charities.”  I’m beginning to question the “unweighted” ballot system of the London Marathon.  Looking into it, they probably have 30 to 40 “tour” companies with bibs to offer worldwide, not to mention all these charities still have bibs to offer if you raise money for them.  Every single person who got rejected in the UK got a message saying, “sign up with this charity and still gain entry.”  Are you starting to understand where I’m going with this?

I don’t mind raising money for charity, but I would prefer to choose my own charity.  I work for a nonprofit organization and the only way we survive is by fundraising… so if I’m going to put forth fundraising efforts, it’s going to be for a cause I believe in, not what someone else dictates to me.

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Sorry London, you’re just not worth the hassle.

As for me… why yes… I am still entertaining the idea of running my first 26.2 after I turn 50. Now I just have to decide which one…

And as for Alan’s entrance fee that he paid in advance, only to be rejected by the London Marathon… the race kept the money and donated it to charity.

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56 thoughts on “London Marathon

  1. tyronepierre

    It’s London’s loss, I agree if you are going to commit to running such a distance, it’s only fair you choose the charity.

    Although I will agree with mukhamani and admit that the ice cream would be worth attempting to run a marathon for! 😂

    Liked by 3 people

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Oh, that’s kind for you to say, thank you!! As for you… isn’t it about time? When will you be taking the plunge? You have an incredible base and you’ve conquered 18 miles… what more do you need? 😀 (I’m such an evil influence, lol)

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  2. Alittlebitoutoffocus

    Bad luck for not getting in, but I sense that nobody from overseas gets a ‘free’ entry… As for Alan’s money – I can’t imagine how many people must apply only to lose there fee. So I’d call that daylight robbery ! From the picture, Alan still looks ‘lean and mean’ enough to run well under 5 hours… However, I’m sure you’ll find another great marathon to do for your first. Good luck! 🙂

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thanks Mike! Yeah, I’m thinking they need to change the name to London’s Charity Marathon. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great if all that money actually does go to charity, a fabulous fundraiser, but I feel it’s all done under false pretenses. And that’s just wrong. Kind of like the CEO of the Red Cross making a 7-figure income… it’s just wrong.

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      1. Alittlebitoutoffocus

        I think there are a number of different charities that you can chose from, but still, I agree, you should be able to enter and raise money for whoever you want.
        The converse of this is that ‘we’ (i.e. mainly my mate Pete, with his Purchasing/Supplier contacts) raised several thousand pounds for a charity (I forget which now) and that entitled us to 3 free entries (n.b. including flights) to the New York Marathon. So it never actually cost us a penny, other than the accommodation, food and drink of course. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. neveradullbling Post author

        Ahhhh, seee, that’s the way to go! But we would still have to pay for everything else with London. Hmmmm, maybe it’s time to consider New York… we’re even entertaining Berlin for which the lottery opens in just a couple of weeks. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Alittlebitoutoffocus

        I’ve not run Berlin, but it is one of the ‘Big’ races. So good luck with your applications if you decide to go for that. Prague is a very nice place to visit, even if the middle part of the marathon route is a little boring (or at least it was when we did it). I’m told Bucharest is very nice too, but again, I’ve not run that one.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. acbrandt

    That is really frustrating–but unfortunately, I’m starting to see it happening all over the place. I know that nonprofits are struggling right now, but I’m always hesitant to donate unless I know exactly where money is going within a cause. I’m glad it isn’t dampening your 26.2 goals!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thanks Alyson! And that’s exactly true! How much money actually goes to the charity and how do they spend it? I need to know that the money I’m donating isn’t going directly to pad the pockets of the CEO.

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  4. Darlene

    That’s too bad about London. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

    I never get into the NYC half and I choose not to fundraise to get in. I hate asking people for money.

    I don’t think I will ever run a full marathon.

    But good luck to your attempt..

    How about NYC? I would love to cheer you on.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Hahahaha, thanks Susan!! But I’m not 50 until January… so I get to enjoy being a youngster for 3 more months!! But you’re right… maybe I was meant to celebrate at home… like at Disney World or something… and I could be a princess!! Yeah! I want to be a princess when I’m 50! I’ll have to look into that!! ;D

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  5. adarling575

    I don’t know… There are so many charities you can choose from, literally hundreds although I suppose they are mainly international or UK based. I don’t see it as a rip-off as you are raising money for charity rather then just paying it yourself! And flights to and visiting London is always expensive. Personally, I never want to go down the charity route unless there is a very specific reason (like when my grandma died from Parkinsons) because I feel bad asking other people to donate. Doesn’t mean it’s a rip off though as it all goes to good causes!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      It’s misleading, not necessarily a rip off. Now those tour companies are a rip off. One of them offered to sell my husband a bib for £1300, a legit London Marathon tour company that the race recommends. I’m pretty sure that money doesn’t go to charity. But I’m with you… I’m not comfortable soliciting for funds just so I can run a race. I enjoy running a race for charity and paying the fees and extra, but I won’t solicit just because I want to run it and that’s the only way I can get in. The marathon refuses to say just how many bibs are actually given through the lottery, so I can’t help question their integrity. Regardless, they do a lot of good and raise a lot of money for numerous charities, so they definitely deserve kudos for that. 🙂

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  6. wanderwolf

    Wow. What would you had done had you gotten in? And those chances are crazy. I’d rather play real lottery. I’m sorry Alan didn’t get a spot, and lost the entrance fee on top of it. That’s bs. And I like that they put so much weight on charity runners, but runners should be allowed to chose. Who are they to dictate that one charity is more marathon friendly than another?
    But you go your own way and enjoy that the finer things in life with your family.

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Had I gotten in, I would’ve run the London Marathon of course! 😉 We were going to take a nice little holiday and show AJ where his grandparents live, but that’ll have to wait now. And thennnnn, we were considering Berlin, 😀 , but the lottery is coming up quick for that, so it may not be next year. How long are you going to be there? And have you figured out your two marathons yet? 🙂

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      1. wanderwolf

        Well, that sounded like a nice London plan! But maybe next year!
        And I’ll be in Berlin for at least two more years, so that window is fairly open. 🙂
        As for me, I am definitely running an evening race on April 15th, but now I have to decide between Rotterdam on the 8th, Hamburg on the 23rd, or Baltic on the 23rd… it’s a hard choice!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Hehe, thanks Lynne. Yeah, it’s a touch misleading, but it’s all good! We’ll still go there at some point for family stuff, but maybe it’s best I keep my first marathon at home, 😀

      And can you believe that ice cream?!! Heaven!! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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  7. Tasha

    Wow…that sucks big time. Especially for Alan. That’s a darn shame they kept his money like that. I’m totally with you about the charity stuff….I don’t like donating all willie nillie to just any charity either. It has to be one that I believe in and has already vetted for myself. Sounds like they are making some serious cash off that marathon.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Yes, that’s what I thought too! I can’t help but wonder how much money the organization itself profits from the event. However, if they’re totally on the up and up, that’s fabulous, but as they’re not particularly forthcoming, I can’t help but question.

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  8. thehangryrunner

    That’s upsetting about both of you getting rejected. I’ve suspected that there are some shenanigans with the lottery/charity sign ups with the bigger marathons and now I’m even more sure of it. On a side note I wonder how that ice cream would ship to Canada. Seriously that looks insanely good!

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      It’s a shame that London is considered a major, because the reality is you can’t get in unless you pay £1500, even if it is masked behind the charities. You pledge to raise that amount, they get your credit card number, and whatever you’re not able to raise, they simply charge your card.
      However, yes! Isn’t that ice cream to die for?!! And I believe he was able to eat the whole thing, lucky man!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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      1. thehangryrunner

        Wow! I had no idea about the credit card bit. I understand that they don’t want people to just get a cheap bib but some of the stories I’ve heard make me not want to go anywhere near them no matter how good the cause.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Anna Cottage

    I am appalled at the treatment you both received, as for them keeping the money and donating to their Charity, right!! “Virgin” and Richard Branson its all about making money, not necessarily for Charities. I hope your experience will not put you off London and England as a whole. Good Luck to you wherever you decide to run, I am sure you will do so well, you seem so determined. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. neveradullbling Post author

      Thank you so much for your caring comment, Anna! It’s very much the norm for that marathon, so we’ve accepted it. 🙂 And yes… Richard Branson… say no more, lol! We still love London and my husband is from the UK, so it’s all good… we just won’t run London until we can come up with a few thousand pounds for the entry fee, ha! Again, thank you!! First marathon is still TBD, 😀

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