Virgin Money London Marathon 2020

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

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 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 you have your own ballot place:

Apply for a charity place

I have a 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 is 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

Running for the RNLI? Once registered, set up your fundraising page

RNLI Volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

RNLI Volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station

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 a record 386,050 people applying for a place in 2018.

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 £890M 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.

RNLI Runner, Westy, passing the Tower Cheer Station

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

RNLI Runner, Westy, passing the Tower Cheer Station

why choose us

Drowning is a bigger problem than most people realise. Every day of every year, people of all backgrounds get into danger in the water. It’s a problem that the RNLI is here to tackle. Our volunteer crews and lifeguards helped over 32,000 people in 2017.

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 you’ll raise vital funds to train our lifesavers, reach more people with drowning prevention advice and bring more people home safely.

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.

our support

We’re with you every step of the way:

While you train

You’ll get an exclusive look at our training videos with running experts. 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.

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. 

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 can also request 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. 

RNLI Volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

RNLI Volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station


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!

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 a 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.


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.

Charity place runners have a minimum fundraising pledge of £2,300 excluding Gift Aid. We recommend using one of the online fundraising pages to make accepting sponsorship money easier for you. Please use the links below to automatically allocate the funds to the RNLI.

Virgin Money Giving: RNLI Virgin Money Giving Page Set Up

Just Giving: RNLI Just Giving Page Set Up

To use our sponsorships forms or find additional fundraising ideas see the ‘fundraising resources’ tab.

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

Once you’ve registered or been allocated a charity place, 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. Please be aware we will require proof of your place.

Can the RNLI give me a place to run in the London Marathon 2020?

There are two types of places in the London Marathon:

  • Charity places purchased by charities to give to their own runners. Applications to apply for a RNLI charity place for the London Marathon 2020 are now open. To apply for a RNLI charity place for the London Marathon 2020, please apply here.
  • Ballot places given by the Virgin Money London Marathon organisers themselves. The Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 main ballot application was open from 26th April – 3rd May 2019. Only the race organisers can give ballot places at the London Marathon. If you have been given a ballot place you can register to fundraise for the RNLI. RNLI ballot place registrations close on 22 April 2020.

Where will my money go?

The funds raised and donated to the RNLI generally go directly in to a central funding pot within the RNLI, so money can be allocated wherever there is greatest need and where it can do the most effective work at the time of spend.

£1,009 could buy two helmets to keep crews safe, a lifejacket to keep crews afloat at sea and a pair of gloves to protect their hands and keep them warm.

For any further queries please contact



Greenwich Park
SE10 8QY
United Kingdom


Start date:

Charity place fees

Adult price: £50

Minimum pledge: £2,300