Do Oxfam do XXL running vests?

Having made yet another less than impressive recovery from injury, I’m now back up to speed and ready to start looking for more races (well, 7 miles an hour is ‘a speed’ of sorts).

So what better way to add some motivation to my currently pathetic training programme than to sign up for a charity?

I was all set to run London in 2011, as having been rejected by the Ballot 5 years running, I’d have been guaranteed an entry. If only the ballot hadn’t closed after about 4 hours, precluding me from even managing to get that right…

And so, on the very day that I decided to go for a Golden Bond place with someone or other, I got a very nice email from someone called Hannah at Oxfam, asking if I’d give them a mention on

Well, as they’re the official charity for next year’s VLM – and a very worthy cause to boot – how could I possibly refuse.

And so, if, like me, you’re considering putting yourself up for fundraising duties as well as many junk miles, injuries and plates of carbs served al dente, might I draw your attention to the fact that those nice people at Oxfam currently have places for the Royal Parks Half Marathon, which looks absolutely stunning; Run to the Beat in London in September; and they’re also offering the chance to go to that Geordie-laden uphill struggle and run in the Great North Run for Oxfam.

Anyway, good deed done for the day, I’m off to get ahead of myself for tomorrow’s good deed by applying for one of Oxfam’s Golden Bond places in next year’s London Marathon.

Wish me luck. And if you want to sponsor me, watch this space


Why are Golden Bond places so expensive?

yourenotinI’m afraid that my failure to get into the FLM for 2009 is still rankling a bit. So much so that I’ve spent the last few days making enquiries of various charities to see if I can track down a Golden Bond place that I could actually afford to take up.

The upshot is, of course, that with the cheapest place I could find requiring a commitment to raise £2,000, I’ve had to decide against it: as I really can’t see how I can guarantee to raise that amount again, particularly in the current financial crisis.

As any regular reader will know, the cost of Golden Bond places is a bit of a hobby horse of mine – particularly as the last time I had one, in 2005, it cost a much more achievable £650.

And so, while still sweaty and somewhat dejected after my run today, I did a little digging on the Interweb to see if I could find out why costs are now so high.

Well, 5 years ago, the FLM charged charities £250 for a place, against the £300 they pay today. Which doesn’t even begin to explain the huge cost increase for runners.

However, not every charity can simply obtain all the places they want. And it seems that, FLM’s online partners are actually selling advertising packages to charities for £9,995, which includes three places, or £22250, which includes eight places.

Presumably, charities recoup a portion of their outlay from the runners who take up the Golden Bond places and make the rest by using the advertising to recruit runners who already have a place through the poll.

While finding out about this system initially had me seething, as it seems pretty much like putting the thumbscrews on charities, who must then do the same to runners, when I calmed down and thought about it, it’s pretty hard to argue with. If only because the FLM raises tens of millions of pounds for charity every year.

In a nutshell, the laws of supply and demand even apply to things like Golden Bond places, and if the charities can find people who are willing and able to raise £2,000 and upwards for a place, then who am I to argue?

All I or anyone else can do is to keep popping in the applications for a poll place, knowing that it’s going to work out for us at least once every 5 years. Well, that and wish all the Golden Bond runners the best of luck in raising such large sums in these dire economic times…