The 7-step London Marathon ballot rejection survival guide

Dismayed that you didn’t get a London Marathon ballot place and not sure what to do with yourself? Follow our 7-step rejection recovery guide.

The 7-step London Marathon ballot rejection survival guide

If you weren’t one of the lucky ones to get a hot ticket to the most popular race on the planet, you might be feeling a bit blue today. It’s perfectly normal to feel rejected, but bear in mind that with 386,050 people battling for 50,000 race places, you are not alone. Follow our 7-step guide to rejection and dust yourself off for another year.

Step 1. Don’t freak out

Tried and failed to get a ballot spot nine years in a row? Resist the urge to rant about the failed system on social media. To make it as fair as possible, the ballot is a completely random draw (just like the National Lottery) and everyone has an equal chance of success.

The ballot is NOT rigged, and having a go at the nice chap who runs their social media channels will NOT make you feel any better. Go for a run instead, buy an actual lottery ticket, or call your mum. 

Step 2. Spread the love

Now that you’re over the initial rejection shock, try and focus on the positives. This wasn’t meant to be your year, but marathon running is not a solo sport. It’s a mass participation event and what makes marathon mania so special is the support and encouragement provided by others.

Right now the world of running still needs YOU. Find your friends online who did get a place and focus your energy on bigging them up instead. Shower your pals with run love! When your year finally does come around, you’ll appreciate their support too. 

Step 3. Plan your year

Once the pain of rejection has settled in, now is a good time to sit down and reassess your life goals. Do you really need to run a marathon? Or would your time be better spent focusing on speed, or injury-proofing your dodgy knees? Now is a good time to start planning the next six months of your life so you can be the best runner possible. Then next year, you can start all over again.

Step 4. Consider your options

Yes, the London Marathon is the most popular race on the planet for a reason, it IS a great event. However, there are also hundreds of other amazing races you can run too! And many of them are also easier to get into.

Nip down to Brighton and run along the seafront, or head up to Scotland to enjoy the Edinburgh sights. The more races you have under your belt, the more you’ll be prepared for London when your time does finally come around, so stop wallowing in self-pity and embrace some other fab events.

Try one of these 12 alternative races or head overseas for one of the best European marathons

Step 5. Run London in reverse

Rumour has it various groups of London rejects run a reverse marathon the day before, and simply run the route backwards. For details visit Drop Dead FitnessSocial Ultra List or head over to Strava and enjoy the sights of the capital backwards!

If you can't make it to London, run your own marathon on home turf. Running is free and you can do it anywhere. If it's the sights and sounds of the big city that appeal, dress up like a giant banana, ask your mates to meet you en route and get them to shout loud words of encouragement while you whizz past.

Step 6. Charity begins at home

If your desire to run 26.2 miles is all-consuming, remember you CAN still run The London Marathon for charity. If the idea of raising funds is overwhelming, just think of the incentives. With all that cash banked for a good cause, you will be more inclined to finish the race, and running for charity is good juju.

Since the London Marathon was founded in 1981 more than £890 million has been raised for good causes and it’s the biggest charity fundraising event on the planet. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? Head over the The London Marathon for details, or speak to your favourite charity.

Step 7. Volunteer!

On the subject of juju, if you’re really keen to be a part of London Marathon, you still can. Volunteers are integral to the success of race day, so sign up and offer your services. Arguably if you’re helping out all day you’ll also spend more time on your feet than if you actually ran the race, so volunteering is great for your fitness too.

There’s a whole community of volunteers who return every year and absolutely love it, so join the gang and bathe in the good juju. Visit Volunteer Team for details.

And finally remember the wise words that Steve Maraboli once said:

'Every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.'

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