Photograph: Joe Toth for The Vitality Big Half

As every runner knows, the ballot for the London Marathon is massively oversubscribed each year and the vast majority of entrants will be disappointed come October when the results are revealed (though some may also be mightily relieved they don’t have to actually run 42.2km). But the London Marathon is not the only race in London town, and there are grand events like The Big Half where your place in the event can be guaranteed, as long as you move quickly enough.

Entry for The Vitality Big Half opened on Thursday 31st May, with 7,000 tickets up for grabs at £39 apiece (£35 for affiliated club runners). As part of these 7,000 spots there are 1,500 available at a discounted rate of £30 for people who live in the four host boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Lewisham and Greenwich.

The Big Half 2019 will take place on Sunday 10th March. The race starts at the Tower of London and finishes at the Cutty Sark in Greenwich, following parts of the route used in the first half of the London Marathon.

This year saw the first running of the event, with 11,000 runners entering including Mo Farah, who won the elite race. The Beast from the East cold snap led to fears the race would be called off but temperatures turned out to be pleasantly mild on the day, which meant the base layer and snood Coach had opted to wear looked somewhat out of place.

While the levels of support don’t quite match the London Marathon – and in fairness very few races in the world can – people do come out en masse to cheer you through The Big Half, which is just one reason it’s set to become a popular fixture on the race calendar. It’s also a fast course for those hunting down a PB, and it’s the perfect prep for a spring marathon that you may have signed up for – especially, of course, if that race is the London Marathon.

Given the rapid inflation of the prices of running events in London, it’s also a bit of a bargain for a half marathon on closed roads in the city. So don’t miss out, get signed up today and lock down the first big race on your 2019 calendar.