As ‘ballot results week’ approached, chatter around the 2017 Virgin London Marathon started up in the office and on social media. Charities sent e-shot mailers out, wishing participants luck and asking for consideration in joining their teams as a charity entrant.
It was revealed that those who would not be taking part in the 2017 event would receive a magazine through the post with a picture of sad-looking runners embracing next to the words ‘Sorry’. Those who had been lucky enough to secure a place would receive a magazine with a photo of happy runners celebrating, captioned ‘You’re In!’
I moved house very quickly in early September due to an unexpected relationship breakup, and emailed the London Marathon organisers with details of my temporarily residence. I was informed that I had notified them too late so wouldn’t receive a magazine, and would instead have to telephone the customer care line two weeks after the magazine results had been posted to find out my fate. I don’t like surprises so wasn’t particularly happy with this decision, plus wondered whether I would still receive the famous ‘rejection’ running jacket if unsuccessful in the ballot.
On ‘ballot day’ itself and during the days which followed, I witnessed people around me receiving their magazines and expressing sadness and disappointment (extreme, in some cases), excited happiness, and discussions around charity places. I wondered with a knotted stomach whether or not I had been ‘successful’. (I don’t like that word in this context; it sounds like those who didn’t get in have somehow failed, at something they had literally no control over.)
Surprisingly, I received an email out of the blue towards the end of ‘ballot week’ and it stated as suspected: “Your application to run… has been unsuccessful”. I’m so disappointed, frustrated and have lost count of how many times I’ve entered – I’m guessing four or five – so now have a rather impressive collection of £40 running jackets in the closet! Talking of which – I phoned the London Marathon helpline to enquire as to whether they would post out a ‘rejection jacket’ to my new address, and was told to call back in a few weeks’ time to organise. A bit shoddy.
Readers of my blog will know that I’ve never run a marathon before, but would love to – I want to tick it off my bucket list and complete 26.2 miles before I turn 30. It’s such a huge achievement. My first choice is, and always will be, the London Marathon. I’ve always thought that if I ever ran a marathon, it will be at this event.
Running for charity isn’t an option; London Marathon fundraising targets are in the thousands and I’ve found that people aren’t overly generous any more (it’s always been a struggle begging for sponsorship), and having just moved house and ended a relationship, I can’t justify picking up any outstanding amount that I’m not able to fundraise. I do a huge amount for charity as it is.
So what happens next?
I’ll keep trying until I’m 30, then that’s it. Two more ballot entries to complete, and two more chances. I do believe in fate to a certain extent (although people use it as an excuse for laziness most of the time); so if it’s meant to be, it will be.