A whopping 38,000 people are tackling the annual London Marathon this weekend (Sunday April 24) for a host of great causes.

And if their enthusiasm has got you excited rather than nervous - three-HOUR-long training runs?! - then you might be thinking of entering next year's race yourself.

So why not sign up before you talk yourself out of it? Here are all the different ways you can enter the London Marathon for 2017.

When is the London Marathon 2017?

Organisers have not confirmed when it is yet but the most likely date is Sunday April 23 .

How do I enter the London Marathon 2017?

Ballot Place

The most common way to enter the London Marathon is by public ballot and last year it opened between May 4 and May 8.

So, if last year is anything to go by, we should expect the ballot to open on Monday May 2 , and close on Friday May 6 , but of course you'll have to check on the website nearer the time.

It is a totally random ballot with no weighting and a record total of 247,069 people entered the ballot for the 2016 race.

Charity Entry Place

If you don't get a place through the ballot then you may be able to secure a charity entry place.

This would typically involve a registration fee, and most charities will ask you to raise around £1,000 to £2,000 for their cause.

You can search for a charity on the London Marathon website and then contact your chosen charity directly to see if they have any places.

If you don't know who to choose, loads of inspirational west Londoners are running for charities close to their heart this year.

Good For Age

The other option is a Good For Age Entry.

This means that if you've already run a full marathon in a particularly fast time, you might qualify for an automatic entry. You can check the times on the London Marathon website to see if this is for you.

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Are you thinking of entering next year's London Marathon?

Can I defer my 2016 entry for next year?

You can defer your 2016 entry, but you will need to complete the online withdrawal form no later than Saturday April 23 at 8pm.

After you've completed the online withdrawal form, you will be sent an email confirming your application for withdrawal.

Have a look at our great photos of last year's London Marathon and the people who took part!

Video thumbnail, London Marathon - all you need to know
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