How To Get A Good For Age London Marathon Place

 Runners in the London Marathon on the Embankment in Westminster. The Millennium Wheel is in the background.
Runners in the London Marathon on the Embankment in Westminster. The Millennium Wheel is in the background.

The London Marathon is one of the most popular running events in the world, and every year more people are left disappointed than not when they apply for a place through the London Marathon ballot, because the odds are stacked against them.

Earning a Good For Age (GFA) place is one way to turn the odds in your favor, but it’s not the easy option. Running one of the qualifying times involves months of dedicated marathon training, and you have to run the time at an official event with a certified course within the qualifying period. The times are adjusted for age and gender, so everyone gets a fair shot.

If you’re planning to run a GFA time in 2024 to participate in the London Marathon 2025, then it’s important to note that the times required have changed from what you needed to qualify for the race in 2024.

What is a Good For Age time for the London Marathon?

You can find the GFA qualification times for the London Marathon 2025 below. The qualifying period to log your time opened on 1st October 2023 and will close on 30th September 2024, and your required time is based on your age when you run your qualifying event, not the London Marathon 2025 date.

In order to qualify for the 2025 event, you’ll need to be faster than ever, because the times required have dropped for all ages, with most people now needing to run five minutes quicker than before.

GFA entry is open only to UK residents and you will have to provide proof of your result when you apply. You’ll have to link to the results of the event where you logged your time and prove your age with an official document, as well as proving that you are a UK resident.

The only virtual event you can use to qualify for a GFA place is the virtual London Marathon 2024, and you will need to back up this result with an in-person result from a half marathon during the qualifying period.

You can find the required half marathon qualifying times on the London Marathon website. They start at sub-1hr 23min 37sec for men aged 18-39 and sub-1hr 44min 23min for women aged 18-39 and then rise with age.

If you run a GFA time and enter the London Marathon 2024, note that you cannot then defer your place in the race. The exception to this is for pregnant and postpartum women, who can defer their place for up to three years.

Is a Good For Age place guaranteed?

Even if you do run the GFA qualifying time, it’s worth noting that this doesn’t guarantee you a place in the London Marathon. There are a maximum of 6,000 GFA places allocated, 3,000 for men and 3,000 for women, and they are awarded on a fastest-first basis (relative to the qualifying time required for age and gender).

The London Marathon organizers recommend that if you are within 10 minutes of the qualifying time you still apply for the London Marathon ballot as well, because your GFA time might not be quick enough to secure your spot.

To get into the London Marathon 2024 you had to run a time five minutes quicker than the GFA time if you are a man, and two minutes quicker if you are a woman. These adjusted times applied across all age groups. As with the Boston Marathon, where the cut-off for qualifying time seems to get faster every year, it’s likely that you’ll need to be well under the GFA time to actually get into the London Marathon in the future.

When are the Good For Age places announced?

For the London Marathon 2024 runners who applied for a GFA spot were emailed on November 27th to let them know if they had been successful in gaining a place in the race.

How else can you qualify for the London Marathon?

If the Good For Age times above seem like a snip, then you might be fast enough to earn a London Marathon Championship place. These spots are guaranteed to men who have run a sub-2hr 40min marathon and women who have run a sub-3hr 14min marathon in the qualifying period. You can also qualify with a sub-1hr 12min 30sec half marathon (men) or sub-1hr 28min half marathon (women).