The London Marathon

Many of our members view The London Marathon as the pinnacle of each year’s running calendar. However getting a running number to participate is by no means an easy task.
Some members are able to get into the race by way of “Good for Age”. Please refer to the London Marathon website for eligibility criteria and details of how and when to apply for these places.

Other members get into the race by way of gold bonds. A gold bond is a guaranteed number provided to many different charities. In return for the running number the charity would expect the runner to raise funds. The amount you would need to raise varies by charity, but will most likely be over £1,000. Please refer to the charity of your choice for further details.

Almost everyone else will need to enter into the race by using the London Marathon’s on-line ballot. This ballot will always be heavily over-subscribed and will always close within hours of opening. If you wish to enter in this way keep an eye on the London Marathon website for details on how to enter this ballot. If you are unsuccessful in this ballot The London Marathon Company will send you a magazine and letter confirming that you were unlucky

Club Assistance at the London Marathon

Each year Bracknell Forest Runners provide assistance to The London Marathon Company. This valuable assistance takes 2 forms:

We provide the manpower for two baggage lorries. This involves us taking control of the allocated baggage lorries within the finish area of the race and ensuring that each piece of baggage gets back to the appropriate runner as quickly and efficiently as possible.

We also operate an elite drinks station situated in the final couple of miles of the race. It is our responsibility to ensure that the specialist drinks used by the elite runners are readily available for them as they pass our station.

These teams are organised by our club secretary and if you would like to assist you should drop the secretary an e-mail. We try to have a mixture of experienced and inexperienced members every year so that knowledge gets transferred. Acceptance criteria is however first come first served.

Club Guaranteed Entries

Each year the club gets allocated a number of its own guaranteed entries. The number of such entries varies each year and come in two forms:

As a consequence of our assistance on baggage and drinks (as above) we are allocated “helpers” places.

As we are affiliated to England Athletics we are allocated a number of places based on our club’s membership size.

Allocation of Club Guaranteed Entries

Our guaranteed entries will be balloted to club members who meet the following criteria:

As of 1st October you must have been a fully paid up first claim member of the club for at least 12 months. Current year’s subscriptions must have been paid prior to 1st October that year.

Any members wishing to obtain a club entry must have applied in the national ballot and been unsuccessful. You will receive the “sorry” letter from the London Marathon Company in early October. The original of this letter must be handed to the club chairman prior to the 31st October that year. If, for any reason, you lose the original letter you cannot enter the ballot; no other type of proof will be accepted even if that proof emanates from The London Marathon Company. In the past member’s partners have recycled the letters, member’s pets have eaten or otherwise destroyed letters and members children have mutilated the letter; in all such cases we have to be fair to all members so, unfortunate as the personal circumstances may be, you will not get into our draw.

You must be able to demonstrate to the committee that you have assisted the club in one way or another sometime in the previous 12 months. So obviously anyone who helped with marathon baggage or water station will automatically qualify. Marshalling, administering late entries and similar tasks at a BFR event including the Forest 5, TVXC, The Bracknell Half Marathon, The Samaritans Run etc. Other ways to qualify would include leading a number of training runs, being a first aider, organising a social event, being an active committee member or any other way of helping the club to exist as determined by the committee.

For the voidance of doubt running at races in or out of colours will not count.

There will be two separate club ballots

The first ballot would be for those entries given to the club by virtue of its assistance at the marathon. Only those members meeting the above qualification criteria and who had assisted at the marathon that year will be included in this ballot. If there are more helpers wishing to be in the ballot than there are available entries then unsuccessful applicants will be added to ballot 2. If there are more entries than there are helpers who wish to be included in the ballot surplus entries will be added to ballot 2.

The second ballot will then be drawn from all remaining eligible members including helpers who did not get an entry from ballot number 1.

In the unlikely event that there are more places available than there are eligible members the committee will decide how to allocate the surplus places.

Under no circumstances is a club guaranteed entry to be passed on by the person winning that entry for any reason to any other person.

Most years we have three times as many eligible members as there are tickets available to the club.

We will not know how many places we have available to the club until mid December. Therefore the draw will take place after the final track training night prior to the Christmas break. We would suggest that if you do wish to take part in the London Marathon your training should start well before late December so you may well start training only to be disappointed. Do remember there are many other marathons you might want to consider entering both domestically and overseas.

With all matters associated with the club’s guaranteed entries the decision of your committee is final.


Many of our members will be raising money for their favourite charity or charities either at the London Marathon or at an alternative event. We have a charities page on our website so if a member would like a listing on that page send the chairman an e-mail with the

  • The name of the event
  • Your name
  • The name of the charity (it must be a UK registered charity)
  • The link to your online donations page

Race Day

The club will organise the hire of two buses to take members and non-members into London. The buses will leave from the Sports Centre on the Bagshot Road. One will drive to the start of the race and the other to the finish area of the race.

Obviously all runners (whether or not affiliated to the club) will take priority on the bus going to the start and all helpers will take priority on the bus going to the finish. That said there will probably be spare places on both buses which will be available to spectators.

Helpers will travel free of charge as will runners who are first or second claim to the club.

Spectators and runners who are not first or second claim to the club will be charged a fare. The fare is for a return journey; there will not be a reduction if someone chooses to do just one leg of the journey.

Both buses will be available to take us back from London to Bracknell Sports centre. Each bus will leave at different times. Please note the club secretary will advertise the time that the buses leave from either the Sports Centre or from London. We will be punctual so if anyone is late they will have to make alternative arrangements. However it is possible that the baggage bus may stay open later than expected in which case the second bus home may have to be delayed.

Of course the paramount object of the day is to enjoy yourself, finish uninjured and achieve whatever you goal is.

Club Colours

We strongly encourage all members to wear club colours at all events in which they compete. Wearing colours makes you easily identifiable to other runners, spectators (whether they know you or not) and our helpers out on the course.

However, irrespective of how you obtained your number, we realise that you may wish to wear alternative colours for example those of your nominated charity. The committee wholly endorses this action on your part.