Didn't get into the 2025 London Marathon? Manchester has guaranteed places for the same day, with no ballot

Confetti falling on marathon start line
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Today, 840,318 runners around the world will be opening their email inboxes, fingers crossed, to see whether they've snagged a place in next year's London Marathon. The ballot for the 2025 race received a record number of entries, so the chances of securing a space on the start line are pretty slim, but if you weren't lucky enough to get a spot then there's another option a bit further north.

Next year's Manchester Marathon takes place on the same day as London (27 April), and the organizer has just released a batch of places with guaranteed entry. You can sign up now, with fees starting at £75 and no ballot.

Places are available on a first come, first served basis, and according to the race organizers one person is entering every seven seconds, so you'll need to be fast to grab your spot.

What to expect

I ran the Manchester Marathon for the Alzheimer's Society this year, and it was an excellent experience. The course is one of the flattest in the UK, and the atmosphere was fantastic with great support all the way around the center of town, down to Altrincham, and back up to the finish. The route for 2025 is yet to be confirmed, but you can check out the 2024 course map online.

This year's race was cool and dry, but Manchester is known for being somewhat damp so you'd be well advised to take some kind of thin waterproof and stash it in a backpack. Alternatively, take something you don't mind disposing of and leaving it in one of the charity donation areas at the start.

I took my trusty Patagonia Houdini jacket to keep the wind at bay, and stuffed it into my hydration pack in the starting pen.

The race village is at Old Trafford Cricket Club, where you can safely leave your bag during the event (this year runners were assigned a wrist band like a cloakroom ticket), and make a last-minute toilet break. 

Manchester has an excellent public transport system, but I'd recommend looking for accommodation near Old Trafford and walking to the start line if possible. I stayed at the Copthorne Hotel Salford Quays, which includes free parking, but there are lots of other options. It's best to book as soon as possible. Staying nearby also means you won't be jostling with thousands of other runners and their families for a place on the tram after the event. 

Overall, it was a great event with an excellent course and a fun, friendly vibe. I'd highly recommend it if you've been unlucky with London this time around.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 15 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better), usually wearing at least two sports watches.