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London Marathon 2024: Date, route and how to enter

More than 500,000 people have already applied to take part in the 2024 London Marathon (James Manning / PA)
More than 500,000 people have already applied to take part in the 2024 London Marathon (James Manning / PA)

People all over the country are gearing up to don their running shoes for the London Marathon in less than a month’s time.

More than half-a-million people have already applied via a ballot to take part in the 2024 TCS London Marathon, due to take place at the end of April.

The majority of places are now taken and most runners have kicked off their training plans ahead of next month’s race.

This year, the London Marathon is bigger and better than ever. A number of runners are vying to make and break records during the race, including one man dressed as a poo who is raising awareness of Crohn's disease.

London Marathon Events (LME) also revealed last year it is introducing carbon dioxide (CO2) removal initiatives in an effort to achieve net zero by 2030. It'll be funded by a £26 climate levy introduced for international runners.

The London Marathon has been awarded gold certification status by the Council for Responsible Sport following assessments of its planning, communications, and community access.

Unfortunately, because the marathon is almost here, most spots in the actual race have now been filled. However, there are still options for participating in local events or volunteering.

With the countdown to the April event underway, here’s everything you need to know.

What date is the London Marathon 2024?

The London Marathon will be held on Sunday, April 21.

The race reverted to its springtime slot in 2023 after being held in the autumn during the pandemic years.

How to enter the London Marathon 2024

The results of the ballot were emailed on July 6, 2023, to everyone who entered and those who put their name forward will now have found out if they were successful. Entrants should have paid the entry fee before the start of August last year.

While the ballot is the most popular way to get involved, there are other ways to take part in the marathon.

  • Each year a number of charities are given spots to run at the event, however, charity spots have now closed. A list of charities that are taking part in the 2024 event can be found here.

  • Those with an impressive marathon record also have the option to apply for a Good For Age place at the London Marathon. People who applied for this should have found out in November 2023 whether they were successful.

  • You can also book with a tour operator. These packages may include travel, accommodation, and an itinerary around the London event.

  • Racers could also enter the 2024 TCS London Marathon MyWay to complete the 26.2 mile marathon from any other location around the world. Applications for this option have now closed.

  • People associated with the British Athletics Club could also apply for a spot in the marathon – with places allocated last November.

    Don’t feel like running? You can also sign up as a volunteer to help the event run smoothly. Applications seem to be still open, but be quick so you don’t miss the cut-off date.

Kelvin Kiptum wins the men’s race at the 2023 London Marathon (Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images)
Kelvin Kiptum wins the men’s race at the 2023 London Marathon (Justin Tallis / AFP via Getty Images)

What is a Good For Age place at the London Marathon 2024?

Open to the fittest and fastest, the London Marathon reserves entries for those with exceptional times.

“Meeting the qualifying time for your age category does not guarantee entry into the event, but simply the opportunity to submit an application,” guidance states.

The maximum number of Good For Age places is 6,000 (3,000 men and 3,000 women) and places will be allocated on a fastest-first basis relative to age and qualifying time.

“If you have a GFA qualifying time that is less than 10 minutes under the qualifying time for your age group, we recommend that you still enter the TCS London Marathon Ballot to increase your chances of gaining a place,” the advice adds.

The qualifying period for the 2024 TCS London Marathon began on October 3 and ended on September 30. Runners will need proof of their time.

These are the times runners needed to set to qualify for Good For Age.

Age

Men

Women

18-39

sub 3:00:00

sub 3:45:00

40-44

sub 3:05:00

sub 3:50:00

45-49

sub 3:10:00

sub 3:53:00

50-54

sub 3:15:00

sub 4:00:00

55-59

sub 3:20:00

sub 4:05:00

60-64

sub 3:45:00

sub 4:30:00

65-69

sub 4:00:00

sub 5:00:00

70-74

sub 5:00:00

sub 6:00:00

75-79

sub 5:15:00

sub 6:20:00

80-84

sub 5:30:00

sub 6:40:00

85+

sub 6:10:00

sub 7:10:00

Can I enter with a charity?

Gaining a charity place is an often-used method of getting into the London Marathon.

Charities can reserve a number of places and give them to runners who will be able to take part if they pledge to raise a certain amount of money.

London Marathon guidance states: “There are usually more people interested in running for a charity than there are charity places available, so often charities will select participants based on their connection with the cause and how much money they are realistically able to raise. They will ask you questions in order to determine this.”

The charity will equip you with sponsorship help and also give you a running vest.

The London Marathon website has a list of charities that offer reserved spaces.

Charity positions are now closed.

Kenenisa Bekele at a pre-marathon event at Tower Bridge (Niklas Halle / AFP / Getty Images)
Kenenisa Bekele at a pre-marathon event at Tower Bridge (Niklas Halle / AFP / Getty Images)

What happens if you don’t raise the minimum sponsorship for the London Marathon?

Runners have about three months to raise the money, which can be in the thousands. There is no hard and fast rule for what happens if runners cannot meet the target and it might be down to each charity.

The CF Trust, for one example, states that not meeting the target “may restrict you from being given a charity place for any event in the future”.

Cancer Research UK has stated it will not ask for the remainder of the amount to be handed over if there is a shortfall.

Charities are very keen to support their runners and help them reach their targets and can offer lots of ideas.

Sifan Hassan wins the women’s London Marathon in 2023 (Alberto Pezzali / AP)
Sifan Hassan wins the women’s London Marathon in 2023 (Alberto Pezzali / AP)

Can I defer the London Marathon 2024?

If you have secured a spot but are now unable to take part, you can defer your London Marathon entry for 2025. However, your eligibility will depend on the type of place you secured.

Runners have until midnight on April 20 to submit their deferral request, meaning you have a few more weeks to decide.

If you already deferred your spot in 2023, unfortunately, you cannot do so this year unless you are pregnant or postpartum.

What is the route for the London Marathon 2024?

The route is set to be the same for 2024 as it has been for most of its history dating back to 1981. It will start in Charlton and finish at The Mall, taking in landmarks such as Tower Bridge and the Cutty Sark.

London Marathon runners pass the halfway point at Tower Bridge (Gareth Fuller / PA)
London Marathon runners pass the halfway point at Tower Bridge (Gareth Fuller / PA)

For further information, visit the London Marathon website.