Virgin Money London Marathon 2018

We'd be proud to have you join the RNLI Running Crew.

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 is coming – and we want you onboard. 

It’s a truly fantastic experience. Imagine the adrenaline rush as you're racing past some of London's most amazing sights, from Buckingham Palace to the iconic Big Ben. Thousands of people will be cheering you on – and the feeling of crossing the finish line is incredible. 

If that’s not enough, you’ll also be raising money to save lives at sea – training crews and lifeguards, reaching more people with water safety advice and bringing more people home to their families. 

There are two ways to run with us, depending on whether or not you have your own ballot place:

I have my own ballot place

If you were lucky enough to get a place in the London Marathon ballot, we’d love to have you join the RNLI Running Crew. There’s no minimum fundraising target, we just ask that you raise as much as you can. All you have to do is register your ballot place below:

I didn’t get a place in the ballot

You could still run the marathon with us by applying for a charity place. Applications have now closed, but you can register for a place on the waiting list.

About the Virgin Money London Marathon

The Virgin Money London Marathon is one of the top five World Marathon Majors and probably the best-known event in the UK running calendar. It’s incredibly popular, with more than 250,000 people applying for a place in 2017.

The London Marathon has had an extraordinary impact, inspiring profound social change, compelling people to take up running and raising millions for charity. Since 1981, it’s raised more than £830M for good causes.

The atmosphere at the London Marathon is truly inspiring, with runners of all abilities and from all walks of life coming together. It's broadcast live on the BBC, and the on-course refreshments, live music and sea of 650,000 cheering supporters will all help you get to that finish line.

If you’re passionate about saving lives, why not join the RNLI Running Crew? If you have a ballot place, register with us today. If you don’t have a ballot place, apply for a charity place with us. 

Running the Virgin Money London Marathon for the RNLI

Photo: Jon Stokes

why choose us

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things: Wicklow RNLI crew member jumping into the sea from the station’s D class lifeboat as part of a rescue reconstruction

Photo: Nigel Millard

Ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

Drowning is a bigger problem than most people realise. In the UK, it accounts for more deaths than house fires or cycling deaths on the road. Around 400 lives are lost every year – that's one person dying every 20 hours*. 

And worldwide, drowning claims an estimated 360,000 lives every year. It’s a leading killer in low- and middle-income countries, even though the causes are often easily preventable. 

Run with us and help bring these numbers down. You'll raise essential funds to train and equip lifesavers, share essential drowning prevention advice and save more lives.

Together, we can save lives. 

Want to find out more? Take a look at our online magazine for RNLI rescue stories, innovations and crew profiles.

*Statistics taken from The UK Drowning Prevention Strategy. 

Our support

We’re with you every step of the way:

We’ve got everything you need to train for the London MarathonWhile you train

You can join our RNLI Runners Facebook group to share tips and advice with your fellow runners. You’ll also get access to handy marathon training plans, so you can achieve your goal – whatever your ability. There’s even a pre-race event you can attend on Saturday 3 February to help with your training.   

When you fundraise

You’ll get everything you need to reach your fundraising target, from downloadable resources to fundraising ideas. You can even get an RNLI fundraising T-shirt! Plus, our Events Team will be on-hand to answer any questions you might have along the way. 

You’ll get a goody bag filled with cheer gear for your supporters

On the big day

You’ll get an RNLI-branded running vest to wear with pride. Knowing you’re running for a great cause can give you a huge boost during the race. And we’ll be there to cheer you on to that finish line! You’ll also get a goody bag, with cheer gear for your supporters to use.

After the race

We’ll be holding a post-race reception for you (and your friends and family), where you can get a sports massage and enjoy a well-deserved buffet. You’ll even get an RNLI medal as a token of our appreciation and support.


We need volunteers like you to support and cheer on our dedicated runners.

The excitement on the day is incredible. As well as feeling inspired by the runners, you'll be helping to raise money for our courageous lifeboat crews and lifeguards. 

There are two types of volunteer roles. Whether you want to cheer on RNLI runners at one of our two cheering stations, or help them after they cross the finish line, we’d love your help!

Cheering team

We need enthusiastic (and loud!) volunteers to cheer on our fantastic RNLI runners. Your support really does make a huge difference.

You’ll be positioned along the race route, either in front of Tower Lifeboat Station or at Canary Wharf. It’s a chance to enjoy the electric atmosphere of the London Marathon and get a great view of London and the Thames!

Join our cheering team at the Virgin Money London Marathon

Photo: Jon Stokes

Post-race team

We need chatty volunteers to get RNLI runners from the finish line to their well-deserved post-race reception, where they’ll get a warm welcome, a buffet and a sports massage. After 26.2 gruelling miles, they deserve it. Plus, you’ll get to meet some incredible people, all with amazing stories about why they’re running for the RNLI.

The perks of volunteering:

  • light refreshments
  • a bag of RNLI goodies, including an RNLI T-shirt
  • getting to know some of the fantastic people involved – from the runners and their families to the RNLI staff and lifeboat crew
  • getting volunteering experience for your CV. 

You don’t need prior knowledge or experience of the RNLI. You might be a friend or family member of one of the runners, an RNLI supporter, or maybe you just want to join us for the experience. Whatever your reason for getting involved, it’s a great chance to meet new people, get volunteering experience for your CV, and support the RNLI Running Crew. And all while enjoying one of the UK’s most popular sporting events.


You'll get all of the information you need for the event closer to the day, but if you have any queries about volunteering at the London Marathon, please email

If you’re under 18, you’ll need to complete a consent form before you arrive on the day. This will be provided to you on confirmation of your role.

Fundraising resources

When you race with our RNLI Running Crew, we’re with you every step of the way. To help you with your preparations for the London Marathon, we’ve put together some resources that we hope will be useful.

Below you’ll find sponsorship forms, posters, training plans, social media graphics and more. There’s also a general guide to RNLI fundraising, which contains information on how to submit money and raise awareness.

If you have any questions, please get in touch on 0300 3009 918 (01 895 1850 if you’re in Ireland), or


Online fundraising pages

Setting up and sharing a Virgin Money Giving or JustGiving page is a great way to kick off your fundraising and make it easier for friends online to sponsor you. You can also find more helpful information, flyers and buttons to help you promote and personalise your page.

Social media posts


Social media

Local media

Training Plans


If I register to use my ballot place for the RNLI, how much money do I have to pledge to raise?

There is no minimum fundraising amount for RNLI ballot place runners - we’re extremely grateful for whatever money you can raise. In previous years, ballot place runners have raised around £200-£1,000 each.

£1,000 could buy two lifejackets to keep crews safe and afloat, a pair of yellow wellies to keep their feet dry and stable, and a pair of gloves to protect their hands.

What support will I receive if I register to use my ballot place to run for the RNLI?

Once you’ve registered, we’ll support you through your London Marathon journey. Before the big day, you’ll get training, fundraising and media tips by email, a fundraising T-shirt, cheer gear for your supporters and an RNLI running vest. On the big day, you’ll be boosted by our two cheering stations and invited to attend the RNLI post-race reception, where you can enjoy a massage and refreshments.

For more information about our support package, see the ‘our support’ tab.  A race day guide of what to expect on the big day will be sent to you in early March.

Our Events Team are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have about the running for the RNLI – get in touch at

How do I register to use my ballot place to run for the RNLI?

If you’ve already been given a ballot place by the London Marathon race organisers, you can register to fundraise for the RNLI. Registration closes on 17 April 2018.

Can the RNLI give me a place to run in the London Marathon 2018?

There are two types of places in the London Marathon:

  • charity places purchased by charities to give to their own runners
  • ballot places given by the Virgin Money London Marathon organisers themselves.

Applications to apply for an RNLI charity place for the London Marathon 2018 have now closed. However, you can join our waiting list for a place if any of our runners withdraw.

RNLI charity place applications will open for the 2019 race on 22 April 2018. 

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2018 main ballot application was open from 1–5 May 2017. Only the race organisers are able to give ballot places at the London Marathon.

For any further queries please contact


Greenwich Park
SE10 8QY
United Kingdom


Start date:

Charity Place Fees:

Adult Price: £50
Minimum Pledge: £2,300