Paul Walters runs the London Marathon
Report from Wednesday 8th November 2000
How I obtained two places in the London Marathon 2001
On September 10th 2000, to my astonishment, I found that the internet domain www.london-marathon.com was not registered, and so I quickly registered it in my name. Note that the official London Marathon site is registered at www.london-marathon.co.uk, and so I realised that my new domain would generate many hits. In fact I subsequently detected that it was receiving between five and fifteen hits a day. I then had to think about what to do with it.
I decided that I would display the genuine London Marathon site when someone visited my domain, but I would also display a small banner at the top of the web browser advertising capinhand.org, which is my new web site that promotes runners charities.
I did however want to ensure that London Marathon Ltd. were willing to allow me to use my site in this way. I found that I could not email the webmaster of london-marathon.co.uk, but by good fortune an email meant for a London Marathon employee was routed to me by accident, and I therefore found a way through this email address to communicate with the London Marathon organisation. In the mean time I had also registered www.londonmarathon.org.uk.
A number of emails flew between myself and Nick Bitel, Chief Executive of London Marathon Ltd. It transpired that London Marathon Ltd. would not allow me to use these domains in any shape or form. They requested that I sign the registration of these domains over to them.
Although we disagreed over a few matters about how the London Marathon and the runners charities were funded, everything was agreed amicably, and I signed the registration of these domains over to London Marathon Ltd. Because this hand over had been done on good terms, London Marathon Ltd. agreed to cover my costs and to supply me with two entries into the London Marathon 2001 in exchange for these domains.
I suspect that both parties have gained from this experience. If I had been a commercial operator unwilling to give up the domains without a fight, then I suspect the legal fees would have cost London Marathon Ltd. dear. On the other hand, in exchange for the costs and time of building some internet sites that had to be removed I think that I can be rather pleased with the outcome.
I will use one of these marathon places should I not achieve entry through the selection process. My brother has decided to use the other place, and he has decided to collect funds for the NSF too. If either I or my brother achieve a marathon place from the normal selection process, then I will be able to transfer one or both of these places over to another deserving cause.
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