4 May

London Is Must Do

Virgin London Marathon

The ballot for the 2013 Virgin Marathon closed within 24 hours of it opening last week (April 30), presumably due to huge demand. A record 36,705 completed the race in glorious conditions this year in front of a television audience of around three million.

The appeal of the race has never been greater. It is firmly established as one of the UK's premier annual events - not just among sporting events either. The BBC recently agreed a deal to broadcast the race through to 2018.

Its attraction is huge with an estimate of only one in three ballot entrants actually winning a place on the start line. It is a colourful, glorious spectacle of humanity that strikes a chord with the nation. I was among those 36,705 finishers this year and can fully understand the clamour to be part of the day.

It truly is a must-do event, even if you are not a runner. It's 26.2 miles and there are the inevitable lows of pain and suffering, but also enormous highs to be enjoyed brought about by the quite superb atmosphere of the race.

I had took part in the race a few years ago and although I had fond memories of the event, this was my first-time as a bona-fide London resident. I had forgotten just how incredible the experience of the London marathon is.

As someone who now lives day-to-day in London, I think you can appreciate the atmosphere all the more. There is no other day in the year where London is quite so friendly and supportive as marathon day.

Those who have entered the ballot will hear in October whether they have been successful. Many will be disappointed, so too will those who had the urge to run London next year but hadn't realised the ballot was open or acted quick enough to register.

I would urge those with any desire to run the London marathon, to not let the closing of the ballot deter them at all. There are still options either through running for charity or even through UK Athletics-affiliated clubs, should you already be a member or a prospective member. If you're thinking about it, then simply do it. Contact that charity, contact that local club.

The London marathon is one of life's experiences not to be missed. Don't let the closing of the ballot close the door for you. For remaining entry information, click here.