“I never thought I’d have cause to be thankful to you Mr Branson, but as you have just saved me from breaking a promise to my Good Lady Wife, I can at last (partially) forgive you for all the times I’ve been delayed at Derby, waylaid at Watford and marooned at Manchester by your sodding trains.
You see, when I last ran London in 2005, it was…well…a bit messy. A blown knee. Heatstroke. Tears before bedtime. I trust that I don’t have to draw pictures here? And in the sweaty aftermath, I willingly promised the GLW that she had just witnessed my FLM swansong.
And so it turned out, because despite disgracefully back-pedalling on my decision, I have never since managed to pick up a place in the ballot for the FLM. But in 2010, it won’t be the FLM will it? It will be the VLM, and therefore in the unlikely event that I get through the ballot this time, I won’t have broken my promise, if only on a really spurious technicality.
But what are the chances of me collecting a place in the ballot though? I’ve only been rejected 4 years running, rather than the 5 years that means guaranteed acceptance.
And what significance do the answers you give to all of the many questions on the application site have? Am I more or less likely to get a place based on my occupation, or my membership of a running club? Does being rejected 4 years running get me any sympathy at all? From anyone?
What, at the end of the day, is the secret of getting through the ballot? If you know, I wish you’d share it with me.
And look, Mr Branson. Or may I call you Richard? Apropos of nothing, I just wanted to say that, on you, the beard looks good. Your cameo in Casino Royale? Stellar. Your trains? Like a Swiss watch. Space Ship One? The stuff of dreams. Virgin Money? Astonishingly good APR. The abseiling thing? Just jolly bad luck and not funny at all.
So please, could you, for the love of all that’s holy, just spare one lousy place in the VLM for an aging plodder, so he can finally run a decent time in London and hang up his high mileage shoes for good? The GLW and I will be eternally grateful…”