Virgin Money London Marathon 2020

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

The 2020 Virgin Money London Marathon has been postponed until Sunday 4 October 2020. If you are an RNLI Runner, you should have received an email from us with further details. 

If you have any questions, please contact the RNLI Events team on We're looking forward to seeing you on race day in October!

The Virgin Money London Marathon 2020 is coming, and you can help save lives with every mile.

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.

Run 26 miles, Help 26 lives

You’re doing something amazing. And when you run with the RNLI, we’ll help you reach that finish line. With every mile you run, you’ll be helping us save a life. Because on the day you run 26 miles, we’ll rescue 26 people – people whose lives may depend on us. Now, that’s something worth running for!

There are two ways to run with us, depending on whether you have your own ballot 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

Charity Places

Unfortunately all our charity places are full for 2020, but come back next year to apply for 2021!

Once you’ve joined the RNLI Running Crew, it’s time to set up your fundraising page!

*The number of people rescued or helped each day by RNLI lifeboat crews is an average figure based on 2018 rescue statistics.

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 414,168 people applying for a place in 2019’s marathon.

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 has raised an incredible £1B 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. 

We work hard to prevent people from getting into trouble in the first place. But when they do, they need our help - and they need it fast. 

Every day, 26 people rely on the help of RNLI volunteer lifeboat crews. And in 2018, our volunteer crews and lifeguards helped over 41,000 people. 

Worldwide, drowning claims an estimated 320,000 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 in the London Marathon and you’ll raise vital funds to equip and train our lifesavers, reach more people with drowning prevention advice and bring more people home safely.

What’s more, you’ll be in good company. Not only will you be part of the RNLI Running Crew, you’ll be running in a city that has four RNLI lifeboat stations along its stretch of the busy River Thames. The stations are Tower in central London, Chiswick in west London, Teddington in south-west London, and Gravesend in north-west Kent. Tower is the busiest of all the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations.

Together we can save lives

It takes just as much courage to run a marathon as it takes to saves lives at sea and on the Thames. When you’re out training in all weathers, our lifesavers will be too. When you need encouragement and reassurance, we’ll be there for you, as we always are. And when our lifesavers race to the rescue, you’ll be racing with them. 

To find out more about the RNLI and our lifesaving work, take a look at our online magazine for rescue stories, innovations and lifesaver profiles.

RNLI Volunteers and Crew at Tower Cheer Station

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

RNLI volunteers and crew at Tower Cheer Station
*The number of people rescued or helped each day by RNLI lifeboat crews is an average figure based on 2018 rescue statistics.

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.

For all important details about your starting location, water stations, RNLI cheering points, your invitation to the post-race reception and much more.

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. 

Any time

Our partner Haven is offering all RNLI runners up to 10% off stays at any of their 37 UK holiday parks. Once you’ve registered your ballot place or secured a charity place, we’ll email you details on how to book. You can also contact our Events Team at
RNLI Volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station

Photo: RNLI/Harrison Bates

RNLI volunteers at the Tower Cheer Station

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


Sponsorship form (sterling) - Download PDF 186KB

RNLI fundraising guide - Download PDF 779KB 

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

Facebook cover image 1 - Download JPG 119KB

Facebook cover image 2 - Download JPG 119KB

Instagram post 1 - Download JPG 286KB

Instagram post 2 - Download JPG 286KB


A4 London Marathon poster - Download PDF 175KB

Local media

Media tips for speaking with local press - Download PDF 89KB

Training Plans

Beginner marathon training plan - Download PDF 548KB

Intermediate marathon training plan - Download PDF 1.2MB

Advanced marathon training plan - Download PDF 546KB


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 sponsorship forms and/or find fundraising ideas, see our Raise money pages. We’ll automatically send you a sponsorship form when you register your register your fundraising event.

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

Once you’ve registered your ballot place 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 2021?

There are two types of places in the London Marathon:

  • Charity places are purchased by charities to give to their own runners. Applications to apply for an RNLI charity place for the London Marathon 2021 will open in April 2020. 
  • Ballot places are given by the Virgin Money London Marathon organisers themselves. The Virgin Money London Marathon 2021 main ballot is likely to be open between July and Oct 2020. Only the race organisers can give ballot places at the London Marathon. 

Where will my money go?

The funds raised and donated to the RNLI generally go directly into 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.

£2,238 could kit out three lifeboat crew volunteers with a helmet to protect their heads, a lifejacket to keep them afloat and a pair of seagoing gloves to protect their hands and keep them warm. Having the best protective kit and equipment is paramount to their safety - and the safety of those they rescue.

The date of the marathon has been postponed, what does that mean to me?

The new date of the London Marathon is Sunday 4th October 2020. 

If you can still run on this date, please let us know on and continue your training and fundraising. You don’t need to do anything further as you have already been entered into the rescheduled event on Sunday 4 October.

If you cannot run on the 4th October:

Ballot place runner – please let us know at and then you have the option to:

  • Defer your entry until the 2021 Virgin Money London Marathon, which is scheduled to take place on Sunday 25 April 2021 (this is the standard deferment process and please note you will need to pay the 2021 event entry fee)
  • Or to receive a full refund of your 2020 entry fee
  • Or to donate your 2020 entry fee to The London Marathon Charitable Trust

Please note, the London Marathon owned system allowing you to choose one of the options above will open in early April.

Charity place runner – please let us know at and we can discuss with you directly what options you have. 

Please refer to London Marathon FAQs for more details.  

For any further queries, please contact



Greenwich Park
SE10 8QY
United Kingdom


Start date: End date:

Charity place fees

Adult price: £50

Minimum pledge: £2,300