London marathon 2020: A guide for charities

London Marathon Update Blog

Last week, the organisers of the London marathon made an important announcement to charities and runners regarding the 2020 event which was due to take place on 4 October. We know that there is a lot of new information so in this post we’ve summarised the key points from their announcement, plus details of how we’re supporting you and your runners on JustGiving. We will continue to update this post as and when more details are announced or information gets updated.

Is the London marathon 2020 going ahead?

For elite runners, the London marathon (or you may also see this referred to as “The 40th Race” by the event organisers) will take place on 4 October 2020 on an enclosed looped course in St James’s Park in a secure biosphere with no spectator access.

There will not, however, be a mass participation event in London this year. Instead, your runners will be asked whether they would like to defer their place to 2021, 2022 or 2023. In addition, they will also be invited to take part in a virtual version of the event on the same day as the elite runner race on 4 October 2020.

What does this mean for my charity and our runners?

All London marathon participants will receive an email from the organisers on 1 September 2020 asking them if they would like to defer their entry. They will have the option of deferring their place to 2021, 2022 or 2023.

If your charity had Golden Bond places for this year’s event and does not want to defer a place/places, then London Marathon Events will offer you a full refund at the Golden Bond price for the places that you purchased. The organisers will be in touch to confirm how you can request a refund in mid-September, and any refunds will then be processed in October 2020.

If a runner secured their place through the general ballot and now decides to not take part in either 2021, 2022 or 2023 then they will be offered a full refund of the entry fee which they paid to London Marathon Events, which will also be made to them by the end of October 2020.

The new virtual Virgin Money London marathon

In addition to participating in one of the future London marathons, runners will also have the option to take part in a new virtual Virgin Money London marathon on 4 October 2020. There is an entry charge of £20 to take part. Anyone with a ballot place will be responsible to pay their own entry charge, however if someone has a charity place then the charge will be passed to the charity.

Runners with charity places are being asked to contact their chosen charity directly to discuss their options for taking part in both the virtual marathon and deferring to one of the future events, as ultimately the charity owns the places and hold the final decision on entries.

What are they key dates we need to know?

There are several key dates which you will need to mark in your diaries.

1. Future mass participation event dates for the London marathon:

  • The 2021 event will be on 3 October 2021
  • The 2022 event will be on 24 April 2022
  • The 2023 event will be on 23 April 2023

2. Key communication and decision dates for you and your runners:

  • 12 August 2020
    The London marathon race organisers have said that they will email all runners on this date, asking them to confirm if they want to take part in the virtual London marathon on 4 October 2020. Runners will have from the 12th to the 17th August to confirm if they would like to take part (subject to your approval).
  • 19 August 2020
    All charities with runners requesting a place in the virtual marathon will be emailed on Wednesday 19 August. Charities must confirm how many places they wish to use from their allocation by Tuesday 25 August. Any unused places will then be made available for general sale Wednesday 26 August.
  • 1 September 2020
    The race organisers have said they will email runners on this date to confirm whether they’d like to defer their entry and if so, they will need to state which year they would like to defer to (2021, 2022 or 2023).

How does this affect your runner’s online fundraising on JustGiving?

1. For your runners with existing Fundraising Pages

To keep things simple, and hopefully save some admin burden on your side, we are automatically changing the date of all 2020 London marathon Fundraising Pages to 3 October 2021. We have sent an email out to all existing runners using JustGiving to let them know this.

We will be in touch with charities in a few weeks’ time to ask you if your runners have chosen to take part in the 2022 or 2023 event instead, If so, we will then update their Fundraising Page to the event date they have selected.

If your runners also choose to take part in the virtual version of the 2020 event on Sunday 4 October, we recommend they continue to fundraise using their existing page. And then also use that same page if they defer to the 2021/22/23 “real-world” events.

2. For any new runners wanting to take part in just the virtual event

From Wednesday 26 August, anyone can apply to take part in the virtual version of the 2020 event, so it’s a great opportunity to get new people fundraising for your cause. We’ve emailed charities a personalised event link to make it easy for people to start fundraising for you for this specific event, but contact charities@justgiving.com if you haven’t received it.

London marathon 2021 ballot

There will still be a ballot for the 2021 Virgin Money London marathon. The ballot will open on Sunday 4 October and close at 5pm Friday 9 October 2020. The results will be announced early January 2021. There will be less places available for 2021, however this does mean that there will be additional runners who may choose to fundraise for your charity as part of the London marathon 2021.

Useful links and marathon resources

Information for this blog post was sourced from the following articles and links:

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Toni Gregory is a Content Marketing Specialist and B2B copywriter at JustGiving. She is passionate about creating content that shares and showcases the incredible work that charities do.