Essential tips to secure your London Marathon charity place

Charity places in the Virgin Money London Marathon can be like gold dust; and with the cancellation of the 2020 race they're more limited than ever. To give yourself the best chance of gaining a spot on the team, read our top five tips to make your application shine. 

Applications are now open and will be assessed on a rolling basis. Once you've read our advice below, fill out the form to apply for your spot and kickstart your marathon journey. 

1. Give as much detail as possible

Our places are heavily oversubscribed, with 3 spaces for every 20 applications. That’s why it’s so important that you include as much information as possible. When choosing the team, we’re looking for people who are passionate about running for Sue Ryder, so especially want to hear about why the charity means a lot to you.

The majority of our runners have a strong personal connection to the charity, and will often be running in memory or celebration of a loved one. Others understand the importance of our care and are passionate about making sure we continue to be there for anyone who may need us in the future. It's a great privilege to read about these special people, and the difficult job of selecting runners is equal parts emotional and inspirational!

2. Breakdown your fundraising

The London Marathon is our largest fundraising event and brings in vital income to fund our palliative, neurological and bereavement support. Before it's cancellation, the 2020 event was on track to raise over £200,000, enough to fund an entire hospice therapy team for more than a year. Our team members should have lots of ideas and concrete plans in mind for their fundraising, and be committed to the time and effort that it takes to reach and ideally exceed their target.

The strongest applications consider various ways to raise funds beyond asking family and friends for donations, so be creative. Showing a breakdown of the fundraising activities that you've planned and how much you expect them to bring in will really help you stand out. 

3. Figure out what support is available

Some employers run matched giving schemes which mean they will match or partially match any donations that you raise. This money can make a huge difference, with a 1:1 matched funding pledge doubling your fundraising total.

Be sure to check with your payroll or HR department whether you'd be eligible, but don't worry if your company doesn't offer this kind of scheme. Ultimately, your passion and determination to represent the cause will always be more important. They may still be able to make a one-off donation, or support your efforts in other non-monetary ways, so it's always worth asking. Equally, clubs or groups that you're a member of may be able to help you host an event or recruit their other members to your cause. 

4. Think about your skills and connections

Are you a social media superstar?  Do you have a special skill or talent? Perhaps you’re planning to video your marathon journey, or involve the club you're a member of in your fundraising? Whatever it is, tell us about it. 

Every runner not only raises vital funds, they're also a champion for Sue Ryder, spreading awareness of the difference that we make. By sharing your story, being featured in the local press, creating a video diary or writing a blog, you are helping us to reach more people and tell them about the work that Sue Ryder does.  

5. Ask for support

Fundraising isn't easy and we don't expect you to be a pro straight away. We're looking for people who have their heart set on giving back and flying the flag for Sue Ryder, and we'll support you every step of the way to do this. 

If you have any questions about the application process, or would like to chat with someone in the team beforehand, please get in touch at We can also connect you with your community team who offer further support. These guys will be your local point of contact through the application, and if you receive a place, in the months leading up to your big day. We work together to ensure each and every runner has the best support available.

What to expect next

Once we've received your application, someone from the team will be in touch to introduce themselves, find out a little more about you and answer any questions that you have.

Places will be issued on a rolling basis, and you should hear about the outcome of your application within two months of applying. 

Disappointing the people who aren't offered a place is by far the worst part of the job. We really value your support and will do everything we can to find another event that appeals to you. Even if you're initially unsuccessful, you'll be asked if you'd like to join a waiting list to secure a place should another runner withdraw.

If you're one of the lucky few who are chosen, your journey has only just begun!  We know that you'll do us proud and represent not only yourselves and your loved ones, but all those who we couldn’t put through to run alongside you.

Good luck and thank you – together, we can be there when it matters for people at the most difficult time of their lives.

Feeling Inspired to run with us?

Terms and Conditions

For more information on undertaking an event with Sue Ryder, please read our full Terms and Conditions.

Henry and Jo leaning on one another as they stretch

Events: FAQs

Got a burning question about completing a challenge event or fundraising for Sue Ryder? Don't worry - just check out these FAQs.

Becka Storer

National Events Fundraiser

Becka Storer

Self-appointed snack fiend of Team Incredible, my job is to make sure your time with us is incredible from start to finish. I love working with such an inspirational group of people and I’m happiest half way up a mountain – Ben Nevis is next on my list!

Follow me on Twitter at @Becks_SREvents or email